Malachi 1:11
Is it prophetic of the "sacrifice" of the Catholic Mass?


Update: CAI withdraws from the discussion.


Mal 1:11 (KJV) For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.

(The italicized words in the above verse indicate words supplied by the translators that are not present in the original Hebrew text.)

A public challenge was offered by Catholic Apologetics International on August 15th, 2002.

The following article (written long before the challenge) was submitted to CAI on September 4th, 2002.


Mal 1:6 (NIV) "A son honors his father, and a servant his master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?" says the LORD Almighty. "It is you, O priests, who show contempt for my name. "But you ask, 'How have we shown contempt for your name?'
Mal 1:7 "You place defiled food on my altar. "But you ask, 'How have we defiled you?' "By saying that the Lord's table is contemptible.
Mal 1:8 When you bring blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice crippled or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?" says the LORD Almighty.
Mal 1:9 "Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?"--says the LORD Almighty.
Mal 1:10 "Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you," says the LORD Almighty, "and I will accept no offering from your hands.
Mal 1:11 My name will be great among the nations, from the rising to the setting of the sun. In every place incense and pure offerings will be brought to my name, because my name will be great among the nations," says the LORD Almighty.
Mal 1:12 "But you profane it by saying of the Lord's table, 'It is defiled,' and of its food, 'It is contemptible.'
Mal 1:13 And you say, 'What a burden!' and you sniff at it contemptuously," says the LORD Almighty. "When you bring injured, crippled or diseased animals and offer them as sacrifices, should I accept them from your hands?" says the LORD.
Mal 1:14 "Cursed is the cheat who has an acceptable male in his flock and vows to give it, but then sacrifices a blemished animal to the Lord. For I am a great king," says the LORD Almighty, "and my name is to be feared among the nations.

In the Temple ceremonies of Israel, animals were offered as a blood sacrifice and burnt offering. God had specified that the animals to be offered should be blemish free, in perfect health:

Exo 12:5 (KJV) Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year: ye shall take it out from the sheep, or from the goats:

To insure the perfection of the animal, it was rigorously inspected by a priest to confirm its suitability. The reason for this was that these sacrifices were intended to be representative of the perfection of Jesus Christ:

1 Pet 1:19 (KJV) But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:

However, as Malachi states above, Israel had begun to offer defective animals for sacrifice, keeping the best of the flock for themselves, in defiance of the specific requirements of God. Both the priests and the laity were responsible, since defective animals were knowingly offered by the laity, and the priesthood was knowingly permitting these unsuitable animals to be used for sacrifice. They were openly cheating God of the pure sacrifice he required.

Catholics will sometimes suggest that verse 11 above is a prophetic reference to a future "sacrifice" that can only be fulfilled by the sacrifice of the Eucharist of the Catholic Mass. This is evident in the Catholic Douay Rheims Bible, as revised by Bishop Challoner and published in 1899. Verse 11 in the 1st chapter of Malachi reads as follows:

Mal 1:11 For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the Lord of hosts.

The footnote for this verse in the Catholic Douay Rheims Bible reads:

Ver. 11. A clean oblation. Viz., the precious body and blood of Christ in the eucharistic sacrifice.

The Douay Catechism of 1649 also claims Malachi 1:11 is prophetic of the Catholic Mass:

    Q. Is the blessed Eucharist a sacrifice?
    A. It is a clean oblation, which the prophet Malachy i. 11, foretold would be offered from the rising to the going down of the sun, in every place among the Gentiles; which was prefigured by Melchisedech, priest of the Most High (Gen. xiv. 18,) when he brought forth bread and wine; and which was, in reality, instituted at the last supper by Jesus Christ, when he took bread and wine, blessed them, and distributed them with his own hands amongst the apostles, saying, THIS IS MY BODY; THIS IS MY BLOOD. Christ Jesus is a priest for ever, according to the order of Melchisedech (Heb. v. 8,) and so he instituted, according to his order; that is to say, in bread and wine, this great sacrifice of the NEW LAW.

Source: The Douay Catechism (An Abridgment of the Christian Doctrine) of 1649, by Henry Tuberville, D.D., published by P. J. Kenedy, Excelsior Catholic Publishing House, 5 Barclay Street, New York, approved and recommended for his diocese by the Right Rev. Benedict, Bishop of Boston, April 24th, 1833, page 90.

Now in Strong's Hebrew Dictionary the word translated "incense" in the NIV and "sacrifice" in the Douay Rheims is qatar:

H6999. qatar, kaw-tar'; a prim. root [rather ident. with H7000 through the idea of fumigation in a close place and perh. thus driving out the occupants]; to smoke, i.e. turn into fragrance by fire (espec. as an act of worship):--burn (incense, sacrifice) (upon), (altar for) incense, kindle, offer (incense, a sacrifice).

The word translated as "pure" in the NIV and "clean" in the Douay Rheims is tahowr:

H2889. tahowr, taw-hore'; or tahor, taw-hore'; from H2891; pure (in a phys., chem., cerem. or moral sense):--clean, fair, pure (-ness).

And the word translated as "offerings" in the NIV and "oblation" in the Douay Rheims is minchah:

H4503. minchah, min-khaw'; from an unused root mean. to apportion, i.e. bestow; a donation; euphem. tribute; spec. a sacrificial offering (usually bloodless and voluntary): -- gift, oblation, (meat) offering, present, sacrifice.


The following is an analysis of Malachi 1:11 from a recent Roman Catholic Bible commentary:

incense is offered: Verbal and nominal forms based on the root qtr, like muqtar [H6999] here, have to do with any kind of offering which gives off smoke, but in postexilic texts precise enough to let us see what is being offered they have to do with incense or other aromatic substances. The ptc. muggas can be used of bringing any type of offering before God.

pure offering: Hebr tahor [H2889] in a cultic context means "pure" in the sense of being free from all that ritually defiles; the contrast with the blemished animals sacrificed by the priests of Jerusalem is thus clear. The word minha [H4503] as a technical cultic term designates a cereal offering (Lev 2); of itself, the word means a pleasant "gift" (and is so translated in the NEB, perhaps unfortunately).

It will be noted that none of these cultic terms has to do with animal sacrifice, although the practice they describe is being compared with contemporary Israelite practice of animal sacrifice. This verse has received the most attention through the centuries. Many have taken it as referring specifically to the future Christian eucharistic sacrifice, or to the sacrifice on the cross, or to the quality of sacrifice less specifically in the future messianic era. It is difficult to take the literal sense as having reference to the future. It is made up of nominal clauses, without any finite vb., and the ptc. muggas, "offered" cannot by itself give these clauses future reference any more than do the ptcs. in v 12, whose time reference is clearly present. ...

Taken at face value, this verse contrasts the offensive sacrificial abuse (involving animals) in Jerusalem with the pleasing oblatory practice (even without sacrificial animals) everywhere else in the world. Pagans at least show the right disposition; Judeans cheat Yahweh. To the objection that so favorable a view of worship among all nations is not consonant with Mal's particularism one may reply that the direct purpose of this view is not that of praising pagan worship but rather that of shaming the priests of Judah by contrasting the quality of offerings to divinity everywhere else. That pagan offerings are everywhere ritually pure and that pagans everywhere give worship to the name of Yahweh are, in context, less statements of fact than they are rhetorical exaggerations meant to shame the Judeans. They move a step further than the universal acknowledgment of Yahweh enunciated in v 14.

Source: The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, published and copyrighted by Prentiss Hall, 1990 and 1968, ISBN 0-13-614934-0, bearing the Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat of the Catholic Church, page 360.


So, a modern Catholic interpretation of Malachi 1:11 concludes that it is not prophetic, that it refers to contemporary non-animal pagan offerings rather than a future "Christian" application, and that it was intended to shame Israel by comparing their blemished and insincere offerings to the universally sincere and honest offerings of the pagans. In short, modern Catholic scholars have determined that, at "face value", it does not refer to the "sacrifice" of the Catholic Eucharist.


The following response was posted by Jacob Michael on behalf of CAI on 16 Sept 2002:


Your conclusion leaves much unanswered, I'm afraid. Let's break this down:
  • "...my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering..." - this is a future event
  • "and a pure offering" - this is a sacrifice, and it is pure
  • "among the Gentiles" - it will take place apart from the Old Covenant

Your statement that, "it was intended to shame Israel by comparing their blemished and insincere offerings to the universally sincere and honest offerings of the pagans," raises some questions: are you suggesting that God was going to be pleased by a "pure" offering made by pagans, that is, non-Christians?

And what Gentile/pagan/Christian offering could be said to be "pure?"

Further, since this is demonstrably a future event and time that is being spoken of, when did it come to pass?


My reply, sent to CAI on 17 Sept 2002:

Look more closely, and you will see that what I presented was not my conclusion, but that of the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, a Catholic publication, which said:

"It is difficult to take the literal sense as having reference to the future. It is made up of nominal clauses, without any finite vb., and the ptc. muggas, "offered" cannot by itself give these clauses future reference any more than do the ptcs. in v 12, whose time reference is clearly present. ..."

In other words, they are saying the Hebrew text does not support the contention that it refers to a future (New Covenant) application. Note again how the 1899 Roman Catholic Douay Rheims Bible is worded:

Mal 1:11 (DR) For from the rising of the sun even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, and there is offered to my name a clean oblation: for my name is great among the Gentiles, saith the LORD of hosts.

And also the 1970 Roman Catholic New American Bible:

Mal 1:11 (NAB) For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, my name is great among the nations, And everywhere they bring sacrifice to my name, and a pure offering, For great is my name among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.

The ecumenical New Revised Standard Version Bible of 1989, endorsed by both Catholics and Protestants agrees:

Mal 1:11 (NRSV) For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name is great among the nations, and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pure offering; for my name is great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.

A modern Jewish Hebrew-English Tanakh, published in 1999 by the Jewish Publication Society, renders the verse as follows:

Mal 1:11 (JPS TANAKH) For from where the sun rises to where it sets, My name is honored among the nations, and everywhere incense and pure oblation are offered to My name; for My name is honored among the nations--said the LORD of hosts.

"Demonstrably a future event", no, as I have just quoted the two most widely published Roman Catholic Bibles in English, plus an ecumenical Catholic/Protestant Bible translation, and a Jewish Old Testament, and they all use the present tense for that verse, because according to Catholic scholars, the Hebrew text simply does not indicate a future/prophetic application.

You asked "... are you suggesting that God was going to be pleased by a "pure" offering made by pagans, that is, non-Christians?"  And "what Gentile/pagan/Christian offering could be said to be 'pure?'" Again, I was presenting the conclusions of the New Jerome Biblical Commentary, and they said the following:

"pure offering: Hebr tahor [H2889] in a cultic context means "pure" in the sense of being free from all that ritually defiles; the contrast with the blemished animals sacrificed by the priests of Jerusalem is thus clear."

"Taken at face value, this verse contrasts the offensive sacrificial abuse (involving animals) in Jerusalem with the pleasing oblatory practice (even without sacrificial animals) everywhere else in the world. Pagans at least show the right disposition; Judeans cheat Yahweh."

"That pagan offerings are everywhere ritually pure and that pagans everywhere give worship to the name of Yahweh are, in context, less statements of fact than they are rhetorical exaggerations meant to shame the Judeans."

So the Catholic New Jerome Biblical Commentary is saying the clear intent of Mal 1:11 is to contrast the dishonest, impure/defective offerings of the Jews with the honest, ritually pure/perfect offering of contemporary pagans, so to their shame, the Jews were cheating God, but pagans were not. Therefore, recent Catholic scholarship concludes that the Catholic Mass is not prophetically indicated in Mal 1:11, because a future tense is simply not supported by the Hebrew text, rather it is clearly an unwarranted imposition.


CAI withdraws from the discussion.

For four weeks CAI refused to post my 17 Sept reply to the "Sacrifice Challenge" on their site. Through an email exchange with Robert Sungenis of CAI, the excuse that I have been given is that Jacob Michael has been given other duties and that the Canuck's Challenge section of the CAI web site is being removed "because of the time expenditures involved". (Of the four Canuck's Challenges listed at CAI, the Sacrifice Challenge appeared to be the only one with any response, the one given above.)

Now I do not demand, nor do I expect, instant replies from CAI, and can readily understand that other things may be more pressing, but I do expect them to post submitted replies in a more-or-less timely manner after they are received, and I do expect them, in good faith, to continue to maintain the discussion on their site after all, it was their challenge I am answering.

In my opinion, the removal of a discussion-in-progress would be unprofessional conduct unworthy of anyone who calls themselves an apologist. I can only conclude that CAI is simply unable to answer the points I have raised above, and therefore they find it necessary to extricate themselves from a discussion they no longer want to pursue. In my estimation, by their withdrawal, CAI will in effect concede the debate in my favor, and I think most any unbiased observer would agree.

Update

It turns out the Canadians formerly with CAI, broke away because they no longer wished to be associated with the recently aberrant, bizarre, and even heretical views of Robert Sungenis, founder of CAI, and this is actually why the Canuck's Challenge section was removed from the CAI site. Since their defection from CAI, the Canadians have established their own web site at Catholic Legate, including the Canuck's Challenge page, though they have NOT reposted the Sacrifice Challenge, so it would seem that neither CAI or The Catholic Legate wish to pursue the discussion any further.


See also the other articles at The Catholic Mass


A Catholic rebuttal by Mario Derksen.



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