St. Paul mentions three sacrifices in 1 Corinthians 10:15-21 (see below). He compares the Sacrifice at the Mass with the sacrifice of the Jews and of the pagans. He even uses the phrase “table of the Lord” which is a technical term for an altar of sacrifice in the Old Testament (Malachi 1:7, 12). The Fathers of the Church all referred to Malachi 1:11 as an Old Testament prophecy of the future Eucharist which we now celebrate.
Malachi says of the defiled Jewish sacrifice, “By offering polluted food upon my altar. And you say, ‘How have we polluted it?’ By thinking that the Lord’s table may be despised” (1:7). Then, referring to new upcoming sacrifice among the Gentiles, “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 (1:11).
1 Corinthians 10:15–21
“I speak as to sensible men; judge for yourselves what I say. The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread.
“Consider the people of Israel; are not those who eat the sacrifices partners in the altar? What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be partners with demons. You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.”
Three different religions (pagan, Jew and Christian);
Three different participations (pagan altar, Jewish altar, Christian altar – Table of the Lord);
Three results (participation in the altar for Jews who eat the sacrificed meat, participation in demons for the pagans, and participation in the Body and Blood of Christ with Christians).
The Didache, written contemporaneously with the books of the New Testament in the 1st century says, “On the Lord’s own day gather together and break bread and give thanks, having first confessed your sins so that your sacrifice may be pure. But let no one who has a quarrel with a companion join you until they have been reconciled, so that your sacrifice may not be defiled. For this is the sacrifice concerning which the Lord said, “In every place and time offer me a pure sacrifice, for I am a great king, says the Lord, and my name is marvelous among the nations (Mal 1:11).”
Clement of Rome (96 AD): “Our sin will not be small if we eject from the episcopate [bishop or group of presiding bishops] those who blamelessly and holily have offered its Sacrifices.”
Ignatius (martyred 107 AD) “Make certain, therefore, that you all observe one common Eucharist; for there is but one Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, and but one cup of union with His Blood, and one single altar of sacrifice?even as also there is but one bishop, with his clergy and my own fellow-servitors the deacons.