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Lessons in the Lutheran Confessions
Concerning the Mass – part 30

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1 Peter 1:1–2

From the Confessions: The Defense of the Augsburg Confession

Concerning the Mass 

This analogy symbolizes not only the ceremony but also the preaching of the gospel. Numbers 28:4-7 shows three parts of that daily sacrifice: the burning of the lamb, the drink offering, and the offering of wheat flour. The Old Testament contained pictures or shadows of future things. Accordingly, Christ and the entire worship of the New Testament are represented in this scene. The burning of the lamb symbolizes the death of Christ. The drink offering symbolizes the sanctification of believers throughout the entire world who are sprinkled by the blood of that Lamb through the preaching of the gospel. Peter says they are, “sanctified by the Spirit for obedience to Jesus Christ and for sprinkling with his blood” (1 Pet 1:2). The offering of wheat flour symbolizes faith, prayer, and thanksgiving in the heart. Therefore, as we comprehend the shadow in the Old Testament, in the New we should seek the thing represented, not another symbol that appears to be a sacrifice.

Pulling It Together

In the Old Testament, many things represented things to come; they are lesser types of a greater future. What was concealed in the Old Testament is revealed in the New Testament. For example, Adam and Moses are types of Jesus. So, Paul teaches: “The first man Adam became a living being; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit” (1 Cor 15:45). Moses delivered Israel out of the bondage of slavery to Egypt. Jesus delivered the whole world from bondage to sin and death. Another example is sacrifice. The sacrifices of the Old Testament are a type of something greater to come. Even the priests making those sacrifices are symbols of a greater priest: Jesus. As the priests of old made daily sacrifices of animals, our great high priest has made one, perfect sacrifice of himself. “He has no need, like those high priests, to offer sacrifices daily, first for his own sins and then for those of the people, since he did this once for all when he offered up himself” (Heb 7:27).

So, we see that these sacrifices are finished because of fulfillment. Instead of instituting new sacrifices that are based on the old ones, we should daily remember with thanksgiving that our high priest has accomplished forever in his one sacrifice what the priests of old did daily: sprinkled us with his blood, freed us from sin and death, and sanctified us forever (Heb 10:14). “It is finished” (John 19:30) means that grace and peace may truly be multiplied to all who believe. 

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for redeeming me and making me fit for heaven. Amen.

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