8 The sacraments

501 In what way is Holy Communion a meal of fellowship?


In Holy Communion Jesus Christ first of all has fellowship with His Apostles, and then with the believers. Beyond that, the believers also have fellowship with one another in Holy Communion.

502 Is there a connection between Holy Communion and the future “marriage feast” in heaven?


Yes. Holy Communion also points to the future “marriage feast” in heaven. Thus Holy Communion also has an eschatological character.

When He instituted Holy Communion in the circle of the Apostles, Jesus said: “For I say to you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22: 18).

Until the reunion between the bridal congregation and Jesus Christ, the congregation experiences its most intimate fellowship with the Lord in Holy Communion.


Marriage in heaven: see Questions 251→562→ et seq.

503 What happens when the wafers are consecrated?


The body and blood of Jesus Christ become present in the consecration.

Bread and wine are not changed in their substance through the consecration. In other words, the bread and wine are not transformed. Rather, the substance of the body and blood of Jesus is joined to the bread and wine. This event is described as ‘consubstantiation’.

In Holy Communion, bread and wine are not mere images or symbols for the body and blood of Jesus. Rather, the body and blood of Jesus Christ are truly present after the consecration.


Symbol: see explanation of Question 498→

The term ‘consecration’ is derived from the Latin word consacrare, which means “to dedicate” or “to sanctify”. The term is used in the sense of “dedication” when bread and wine are consecrated for Holy Communion.

The word ‘substance’ derives from the Latin word substantia, which means “essence”, “constitution”, or “composition”. It thus describes what something consists of.

504 Is the sacrifice of Jesus Christ present in Holy Communion?


Yes, the sacrifice of Jesus Christ is present in Holy Communion. This sacrifice is not repeated, however, as it has been brought “once for all” (Hebrews 10: 10, 14).

505 Why is Holy Communion celebrated in every divine service?


In contrast to the sacraments of Holy Baptism with water and Holy Sealing, Holy Communion is celebrated in every divine service because it sustains human beings in their fellowship of life with Jesus Christ. We thereby absorb the nature of Jesus.

506 For how long do the body and blood of Christ remain present in the consecrated wafers?


The body and blood of Christ remain present in the consecrated wafers until they have reached the recipients they are intended to reach.

507 What is the relationship between forgiveness of sins and Holy Communion?


Forgiveness of sins is closely related to Holy Communion, since they are both based on the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

The sacrament of Holy Communion does not at the same time effect the forgiveness of sins, however. The forgiveness of sins is necessary so that the believers can subsequently partake worthily of Holy Communion, that is, in a state in which they have been cleansed of sin.

508 To whom did Jesus Christ entrust the sacrament of Holy Communion?


Jesus Christ instituted Holy Communion in the circle of the Apostles and also entrusted it to them. Wherever the Apostles or priestly ministers authorised by them are active, all aspects of Holy Communion are present.

509 What are the words of the consecration for Holy Communion?


For the consecration of Holy Communion, the minister pronounces a fixed text based on 1 Corinthians 11: 23 et seq. and Matthew 26: 26 et seq. as follows:
“In the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, I consecrate bread and wine for Holy Communion and lay thereupon the once brought, eternally valid sacrifice of Jesus Christ. For the Lord took bread and wine, gave thanks and said: ‘This is My body which is broken for you. This is My blood of the new covenant given for many for the remission of sins. Eat and drink! Do this in remembrance of Me.’ For as often as you eat this bread and drink this wine, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes. Amen!”

510 How is Holy Communion celebrated in the divine service?


First, the wafers are consecrated. This happens when the authorised minister spreads his hands over the open communion chalice or paten and speaks the words of the consecration.

Then the ministers and the congregation receive the body and blood of Jesus Christ in the form of a wafer sprinkled with wine. The dispensation occurs with the words: “The body and blood of Jesus given for you.”

511 What is the prerequisite for worthily partaking in Holy Communion?


In addition to the forgiveness of sins, which is proclaimed beforehand, belief in Jesus Christ and His sacrifice is a necessary prerequisite.


Forgiveness of sins: see Questions 415→507→629→644→ et seq.

512 What are the effects of Holy Communion?


Holy Communion establishes intimate fellowship with Jesus Christ. It imparts the nature and strength of the Son of God. Partaking of Holy Communion also serves to promote the unity of the believers with one another, because they develop together into the nature of Jesus Christ. Thus Holy Communion is an important means of preparation for the return of Christ.

“For we, though many, are one bread and one body, for we all partake of that one bread.”  1 Corinthians 10: 17

513 Who is entitled to partake in Holy Communion?


Those who have been baptised in the New Apostolic Church, those who have been sealed, and those who have been adopted into the congregation are entitled to regularly partake of Holy Communion.

Properly (rite) baptised Christians may also have access to Holy Communion as guests.


Holy Baptism with water: see Questions 404→481→ et seq. ‘Rite’: see explanation of Question 488→ Holy Sealing: see Questions 404→515→ et seq.

Adoption: see Questions 662→669→

514 What is the significance of the communion celebrations of other churches?


Important elements of Holy Communion are present in the communion celebrations of other churches. There too, the death and resurrection are commemorated with gratitude and faith. New Apostolic Christians should, however, be aware that by regularly partaking in the communion celebrations of another church, they are basically professing the doctrine of that church.

515 What is Holy Sealing?


Holy Sealing is the sacrament whereby the believer receives the gift of the Holy Spirit through the laying on of hands and prayer of an Apostle. The believer thereby becomes a child of God with the calling to become a firstling.


Firstling: see Questions 428→530→  Child of God: see explanation of Question 530→

516 What does the term “sealing” / “sealed” mean in the letters of the New Testament?


In the letters of the New Testament, the term “sealing” / “sealed” refers to the imparting of the gift of the Holy Spirit: “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Corinthians 1: 21-22).

“In Him [Christ] you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise” (Ephesians 1: 13).

“And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption” (Ephesians 4: 30).

517 Was the Holy Spirit already active in the time of the Old Testament?


Yes. As a person of the Trinity of God, the Holy Spirit was, like the Father and the Son, active from eternity. In the old covenant, He filled individual human beings who had been selected by God for specific tasks.


Old covenant and new covenant: see Question 175→

“Then Samuel took the horn of oil and anointed him in the midst of his brothers; and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.”
1 Samuel 16: 13

“Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”  Psalm 51: 11

518 Does the Old Testament contain any references to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament?


Yes, the Old Testament contains several references (for example, Ezekiel 36: 27) indicating that God’s Spirit would be poured out over many people. An important reference to this can be found in Joel 2: 28-29: “And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And also on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days” (see also Acts 2: 15 et seq.).

519 Did Jesus promise the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?


Yes, Jesus promised His Apostles on several occasions that He would send the Holy Spirit, for example: “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me” (John 15: 26).

520 When was the promise of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit fulfilled?


It was on Pentecost in Jerusalem that this promise was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the Apostles and the disciples.

“When the day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”  Acts 2: 1-4

521 When did the anointing of Jesus with the Holy Spirit occur?


After the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him. John the Baptist attested the following: “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him” (John 1: 32). This event can be described as “anointing”.


Baptism of Jesus: see Questions 129→ et seq.

“Do not labour for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him.”  John 6: 27

522 What is the significance of Jesus’ baptism and subsequent anointing with the Holy Spirit?


The baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist and the descending of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus are references to the sacraments of Holy Baptism with water and Holy Sealing.

The anointing of Jesus with the Holy Spirit distinguishes Him as the Messiah. It is a reference to the sacrament of Holy Sealing. It is also to this event that Acts 10: 37-38 refers: “That word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power.”

Already in the old covenant, individuals were consecrated for specific duties through anointing. Such anointing was given to prophets, kings, and priests. See also “Messiah” (= “the Anointed One”), Questions 111→ and 112→.

523 From what does it follow that Holy Baptism with water should precede the receiving of the gift of the Holy Spirit?


When asked by his listeners what they were to do in response to his Pentecost sermon, Apostle Peter answered as follows: “Repent, and let every one of you be baptised in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2: 38).

524 What does the book of Acts relate concerning Holy Sealing?


An important reference to Holy Sealing is found in Acts 8: 14 et seq.: “Now when the Apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.”

According to this testimony from Holy Scripture, Holy Sealing is bound to the Apostle ministry. This is also confirmed in Acts 8: 18. Simon, who had previously practised sorcery but had come to believe and was baptised (cf. Acts 8: 9, 11 et seq.), “saw that through the laying on of the Apostles’ hands the Holy Spirit was given.”

From this event it follows that the sacraments of Holy Baptism with water and Holy Sealing are clearly distinguished from one another. We find a similar account in Acts 19: 1-6. In Ephesus, there were some disciples who had only received the baptism unto repentance from John. When they came to believe in Jesus, they were first of all baptised in the name of the Lord Jesus. After this they received the gift of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles: “And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them.”


Baptism unto repentance: see Question 485→

525 How is the sacrament of Holy Sealing dispensed?


The sacrament of Holy Sealing is dispensed by Apostles when they impart the gift of the Holy Spirit in the name of God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to a baptised person. In so doing they lay their hands on the forehead of the baptised believer and pray.

526 What are the prerequisites for receiving the sacrament of Holy Sealing?


The prerequisite for receiving the sacrament of Holy Sealing is belief in the triune God and the Apostles sent by Jesus Christ. The believer must also have been baptised with water in proper fashion beforehand. He must profess his faith and vow to follow Christ.


“In the proper manner” (rite): see explanation of Question 488→

527 Who can receive the sacrament of Holy Sealing?


Any person who fulfils the necessary prerequisites can receive Holy Sealing. The sacrament is dispensed upon adults and children alike. When children are sealed, the parents or guardians responsible for their religious education must profess their faith on behalf of the children. They must vow to raise their children in the New Apostolic faith.

528 What do we mean by the “rebirth out of water and the Spirit”?


The two sacraments of Holy Baptism with water and Holy Sealing together comprise the “rebirth out of water and the Spirit”. Through these sacraments, God creates a “new creation”—life from God.

“Jesus answered, ‘Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God’.”  John 3: 5

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”  2 Corinthians 5: 17

529 What is the relationship between Holy Sealing and the rebirth out of water and the Spirit?


Holy Sealing is part of the rebirth out of water and the Spirit. In it, God completes that which He began in Holy Baptism with water. The renewal of a human being occurs through God, the Holy Spirit, who thereby reveals Himself as the Maker of the new creation.


Holy Baptism with water: see Questions 404→481→ et seq.

530 What are the effects of Holy Sealing?


In Holy Sealing, the believer is enduringly filled with the Holy Spirit. God thereby allows him to share in His being. God thus grants him His strength, His life, and His love for mankind: “The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Romans 5: 5).

The sealed believer is now the property of God. God’s Spirit has taken up His enduring dwelling place within him (cf. Romans 8: 9).

The human being is now a child of God. He has been called to be a firstling: the rebirth thus has a present effect in childhood in God and a future effect in the calling to become a firstling.

As a child of God, the believer is now an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ. The “Spirit of adoption” which is active within the human being as a result of Holy Sealing, now confidently addresses God as “Abba, Father”.

If the sealed believer gives the Holy Spirit room to unfold, divine virtues will come into being. These are described figuratively as “fruit of the Spirit” (cf. Galatians 5: 22).


Firstling: see Question 428→

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control...”  Galatians 5: 22-23

“For [...] you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.”  Romans 8: 15-17

The term “child of God” has various aspects:

  • All human beings are children of God because they have been created by God and can therefore address the Almighty as “Father”.
  • In the time of the Old Testament, God cared for the people of Israel like a Father. Accordingly He referred to the people of Israel as “My son, My firstborn” (cf. Exodus 4: 22-23). Israel thus enjoyed a kind of relationship of childhood with God. When Jesus spoke to the Jews in the Sermon on the Mount, He described God as their “Father in heaven”.
  • As Christians, we have been given the Lord’s Prayer, in which we confidently address God as “Our Father”.
  • Beyond that, the term “childhood in God” refers to that condition of a human being before God which is characterised by having received all the sacraments, believing, and aligning one’s life by the return of Christ. Childhood in God is attained through the rebirth out of water and the Spirit. As “children of God”, reborn believers are promised that they will be heirs of the Most High.