(262) 385-7485
 
 

  

 
 

Why do some people believe that the priesthood ended with the death of Christ and the tearing of the veil in the sanctuary?


“There is not one verse in Scripture that the priesthood as we know it, will be continued after Christ has rent the veil of the temple.”  This is a comment of one person to a previous article about the Mass.   He didn’t believe there was a New Testament priesthood.   He believed the priesthood ended after the veil in the temple was torn in two.  He doesn’t seem to realize, the tearing of the veil, in Mark 15, did not mark the end of the priesthood; it marked the end of Jesus life.  “Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last.  The veil of the sanctuary was torn in two from top to bottom (Mk 15:37-38).  As you can see this was at the death of Jesus, not the death of the priesthood.  He has quoted a verse and then substituted something from his tradition that is not in the context. How can Jesus death on the cross be the death of the priesthood, when the Bible clearly says that we have a priesthood that doesn't pass away?

priesthood that does not pass away.

Here is another person who objected to the Mass because we have priests offering it. “That is the catholic doctrine. Which is why I am glad I left the catholic church. This doctrine is severely un biblical and heretical. Gods word say …There is no need for a priest to make sacrifice over and over again.” In almost all objections against the Mass and priesthood there is usually at least a partial truth, followed by a distortion. When he says there is no need for a priest to make sacrifices over and over again; he is correct and in fact, he is alluding to this in the Bible;  

Every  priest stands daily at his ministry offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins (Heb 10:11).  

His error is in not realizing this was the Old Testament priesthood that offers animal sacrifices, not the Catholic priesthood that offers Jesus at every Mass. 

He wants us to believe that the priest spoken of is a New Testament Catholic priest, and the sacrifices that cannot take away sins are the Mass.  Herein lies the problem; the priest in Hebrews 10:11 is a Levitical Old Testament priest and the sacrifices being offered are animal sacrifices, not the Mass.   He was taught Hebrews 10:11 out of context and believed it, not realizing someone had slipped one by him.  

Hebrews 10:11 taken out of context: “Every [Levitical, Heb 7:11] priest stands daily at his ministry offering frequently those same sacrifices [blood of bulls and goats, Heb 10:4] that can never take away sins.   The only way that a Catholic priest could be in violation of Hebrews 10:11 would be if he offered animal sacrifice.  But of course he doesn’t; he offers Jesus in every Mass.   

Here is another of his comments, He believes that the Mass and the priesthood are wrong because to him it suggests in some way that “Christ's atonement was insufficient and is still going through a process of completion.” To back up his thesis, he quotes Christ, just before he died on the cross; “it is finished.” He doesn’t connect the dots.  He doesn’t tell us why receiving Jesus, in the representation of the Last Supper (Mass), takes away from Christ’s one time sacrifice on the cross.   He just makes the statement.    

When Jesus said, it is finished; He wasn’t saying the Last Supper and priesthood were finished.  He is saying His life and mission here in the flesh are completed

(Jn 17:4). 

“When Jesus had taken the wine, he said, “It is finished.” And bowing His head He handed over His Spirit” (Jn 19:30).  When Jesus said “it is finished,” he was not speaking against the end of the priesthood.  It was the end of His life and physical suffering on earth. Notice in the very next verse, Jesus dies.  Jesus is the High Priest, and it would have been the end of the priesthood, had he not rose from the dead and ascended into Heaven. 

The Bible does not claim an end to the priesthood, but a change in the priesthood. Paul tells us in Hebrews that there is a change of priesthood;   

"For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well" (Heb 7:12).  

The people who claim there is an end of the priesthood, seem not to be aware of the fact that the Bible claims only that there is a change of priesthood. These same people, who claim the "Bible Alone," are seemingly unaware of the fact that they are believing something that is not only, not in the Bible, but even contrary to the Bible.  Since there is not an end of the priesthood but a change in priesthood in the Bible, this begs the question; where do they get this contrary notion?  They are getting it from their tradition and by doing so they are in violation of their own Bible Alone doctrine.

Here is a partial list of things that some say are interfering with Christ atonement, after Jesus said “it is finished” (Jn 19:30).

Therefore, the Last Supper (Mass) that Jesus presented is wrong;
Therefore, the Priesthood is wrong;
Therefore, Confession to a priest is wrong;
Therefore, the authority of the Church is wrong;
Therefore, honor (hyper-dulia) to Mary is wrong;
Therefore, Jesus is wrong by applying good works to salvation;

The Last Supper, Priesthood, Confession, authority of the Church, honoring Mary and good works are in the Bible and it doesn’t say that any of these things take away from finished work of Christ on the cross.  The second problem is that none of these things listed are in the context of John 19:30.   We should not take the words of Christ “it is finished” and then use this to negate other things, not in the context. To do so is intelllectually dishonest and a corrupt presentation.  

This type of corrupt presentation is used against the Catholic Church to get people out of the Church.  Some Protestants see this intellectual corruption and are lead to the very Catholic Church they were taught to hate. I was listening to a an Evangelical convert to the Catholic Church and his conversion began while attending a Protestant seminary.  One of the   professors giving a talk on the priesthood said that there is no New Testament priesthood and then later said that we are all priests. 

He realised the obvious contradiction; how can there be no priesthood if in fact we are all priests?

Why would Jesus stop the reenactment of the last supper when He presented it, at the last meeting of His Apostles, before His capture?  In fact the reenactment of the Last Supper according to the Bible is done often.  “In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. DO THIS, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord until he comes” (1 Cor 11:25-26). And so I can believe someone who tells us the Last Supper (Mass) is not Biblical, or I can believe the Bible and the Apostle Paul, who asks us to offer it often, weekly and even daily!   

The person who was glad that he left the Catholic Church was simply duped.  He did not want to be a part of a church that is unbiblical and heretical. And so he left the Biblical offering of the last supper at every Mass for another tradition, that is unbiblical. This denys denys the representation of the last supper at every Mass even though in the early Church it was done both daily and weekly.