Skip to comments.Saints [Catholic, Orthodox, Open]
Posted on 01/02/2013 11:43:34 AM PST by Salvation
First a definition: "To pray," as a verb, has two very distinct meanings:
1 : to make a request in a humble manner
2 : to address God or a god with adoration, confession, supplication, or thanksgiving
It is only in this first sense that Catholics "pray" to saints. "To pray" is simply to ask, and it is a common English word as these examples will show: "Comes now Petitioner and, having filed his Motion in Limine, prays this Honorable Court to grant..." or "I pray thee, sir, might I borrow your book?". In the first instance, the Petitioner is not worshipping the Court. In the second, the potential book-borrower is not worshipping the book owner. And if I ever ask you, "Where have you been, pray tell?" I am not worshipping you, trust me!
All worship in the sense of latria is God's alone. All grace comes from God alone. Only Christ can save us. Please read these three sentences again; they are core Catholic doctrine as taught for 2,000 years.
OK, so why pray to saints? We pray to saints to ask them to pray for us, in the same way you might pray for me if I ask and I would pray for you if you ask. Christians are called to pray for each other: James 5:16 "Pray one for another... The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." I imagine that this isn't controversial for you!
Where the problems come in are with the interpretation of the Old Testament prohibition against necromancy and with the Protestant ideas of the nature of death. Let's take these issues one at a time:
Please read carefully the verses Leviticus 19:31, Deuteronomy 18:10-12, 1 Samuel 28:3-18, Isaiah 8:19, Isaiah 19:3, and Isaiah 47:12-14 (see below in Relevant Scripture). The Old Testament prohibitions were against sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy (the conjuring of the dead), seeking counsel of the dead, trying to bring back the dead, the use of enchantment -- practices akin to our modern "channeling" and seances -- practices the Church has preached against for 2,000 years. From the Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.
2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.
The God of the Living
Now look closely at Mark 12:26-27:
"But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken."
There are only two ways we can go with this verse: either Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are dead in the supernatural realm and God is not their God, which would make God a liar -- an impossibility! -- or Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are ALIVE and God is their God just as He said.
Now, who appeared with our Lord during His transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-8, see below in Relevant Scripture)? Moses and Elias -- God's righteous men, ALIVE! Matthew 27:53 tells us that on the day of Christ's resurrection, the dead came out of their graves and appeard to many, Revelation tells us that in John's vision of Heaven, he saw the Heavenly Saints burning incense and praying. The Old Testament, too, speaks of the intercession of "dead" Saints as it describes how Moses and Samuel, bodily dead, ask God for mercy for those on earth (Jeremiah 15:1). 2 Maccabees 15:14 describes Judah's vision in which St. Onias the high priest shows him Jeremiah the prophet, now in heaven: "And Onias spoke, saying, 'This is a man who loves the brethren and prays much for the people and the holy city, Jeremiah, the prophet of God'" (Of course, Maccabees was torn out of Protestant Bibles along with 6 other books in the 16th century during the Protestant Reformation, even though those books, called by Catholics the "Deuterocanonical books" and by Protestants the "Apocrypha," were in the same version of the Old Testament (the Septuagint) read and quoted by the apostles. This is agreed upon by most Biblical scholars and is evident by the fact that the Septuagint is referenced over 300 times in the New Testament).
Hebrews 12:1 tells us that we are surrounded by a "great cloud of witnesses"! Think of it! We are surrounded not only by God's Love, the Spirit of the Comforter, and the marvelous evidence of His greatness -- sacramental nature, but we are surrounded by His angels and His saints who pray for us and intercede for us! The entire universe glorifies His name! This thorougly Scriptural and Catholic view is expressed in the phrase "The Communion of Saints," used to describe the concept of the Mystical Body of Christ (His Church) being made of three parts: the Church Militant (Christians on earth); the Church Suffering (Christians who are being cleansed in Purgatory before they stand before Almighty God), the Church Triumphant (Christians in Heaven).
But all Christians are saints!
Yes, in the broad sense, which is why the Catholic Church refers to the Communion of Saints which includes those Christians on earth and in Purgatory. But the Saints that have been canonized are simply those men and women whose holiness sets an example for all Christians to follow. They are people especially recognized by the Church as role models for us to emulate and as friends we can turn to for prayer.
The secular world rightly honors its heroes -- the brave soldiers, the brilliant scientists, the artists, etc. --- and it even makes up pretend heroes with the Batmans and Supermans found in comic books. For Catholics, the hero is a man of virtue, and the heroine is the woman whose dedication to Christ makes her truly worthy of respect.
You are not alone, my fellow Christian! Even if you feel as though you are the loneliest person on earth, God's Saints, our brothers and sisters in Christ, want to pray for you! And their prayers are more efficacious than the prayers of most of our Christian brothers and sisters in this realm because those in Heaven have been purified and stand in the very Presence of God. Nothing unclean enters Heaven (Revelation 21:27)! Those who are there are fully partaking in the divine nature:
2 Peter 1:4
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
Ye shall not eat any thing with the blood: neither shall ye use enchantment, nor observe times.
Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.
A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.
There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch. Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
And it came to pass when Joshua was by Jericho, that he lifted up his eyes and looked, and, behold, there stood a man [an angel] over against him with his sword drawn in his hand: and Joshua went unto him, and said unto him, "Art thou for us, or for our adversaries?" And he said, "Nay; but as captain of the host of the Lord am I now come." And Joshua fell on his face to the earth, and did worship....
1 Samuel 28:3-18
Now Samuel was dead, and all Israel had lamented him, and buried him in Ramah, even in his own city. And Saul had put away those that had familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land. And the Philistines gathered themselves together, and came and pitched in Shunem: and Saul gathered all Israel together, and they pitched in Gilboa. And when Saul saw the host of the Philistines, he was afraid, and his heart greatly trembled. And when Saul enquired of the LORD, the LORD answered him not, neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets. Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and enquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor. And Saul disguised himself, and put on other raiment, and he went, and two men with him, and they came to the woman by night: and he said, I pray thee, divine unto me by the familiar spirit, and bring me him up, whom I shall name unto thee. And the woman said unto him, Behold, thou knowest what Saul hath done, how he hath cut off those that have familiar spirits, and the wizards, out of the land: wherefore then layest thou a snare for my life, to cause me to die? And Saul sware to her by the LORD, saying, As the LORD liveth, there shall no punishment happen to thee for this thing. Then said the woman, Whom shall I bring up unto thee? And he said, Bring me up Samuel. And when the woman saw Samuel, she cried with a loud voice: and the woman spake to Saul, saying, Why hast thou deceived me? for thou art Saul. And the king said unto her, Be not afraid: for what sawest thou? And the woman said unto Saul, I saw gods ascending out of the earth. And he said unto her, What form is he of? And she said, An old man cometh up; and he is covered with a mantle. And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground, and bowed himself. And Samuel said to Saul, Why hast thou disquieted me, to bring me up? And Saul answered, I am sore distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me, and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams: therefore I have called thee, that thou mayest make known unto me what I shall do. Then said Samuel, Wherefore then dost thou ask of me, seeing the LORD is departed from thee, and is become thine enemy? And the LORD hath done to him, as he spake by me: for the LORD hath rent the kingdom out of thine hand, and given it to thy neighbour, even to David: Because thou obeyedst not the voice of the LORD, nor executedst his fierce wrath upon Amalek, therefore hath the LORD done this thing unto thee this day.
And when they say to you, "Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter," should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?
The spirit of Egypt will fail in its midst;
I will destroy their counsel,
And they will consult the idols and the charmers,
The mediums and the sorcerers.
Stand now with your enchantments
And the multitude of your sorceries,
In which you have labored from your youth--
Perhaps you will be able to profit,
Perhaps you will prevail.
You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels;
Let now the astrologers, the stargazers,
And the monthly prognosticators
Stand up and save you
From what shall come upon you.
Behold, they shall be as stubble,
The fire shall burn them;
They shall not deliver themselves
From the power of the flame;
It shall not be a coal to be warmed by,
Nor a fire to sit before!
Then said the LORD unto me, Though Moses and Samuel [dead in the body at this time] stood before me, yet my mind could not be toward this people: cast them out of my sight, and let them go forth.
I am Raphael, one of the seven holy angels who present the prayers of the saints and enter into the presence of the glory of the Holy One.
2 Maccabees 12:44
For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. [see 1 Corinthians 15:29 below]
2 Maccabees 15:14
And Onias spoke, saying, "This is a man who loves the brethren and prays much for the people and the holy city, Jeremiah [bodily dead], the prophet of God."
And after six days Jesus taketh Peter, James, and John his brother, and bringeth them up into an high mountain apart, And was transfigured before them: and his face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light. And, behold, there appeared unto them Moses and Elias talking with him. Then answered Peter, and said unto Jesus, Lord, it is good for us to be here: if thou wilt, let us make here three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him. And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their face, and were sore afraid. And Jesus came and touched them, and said, Arise, and be not afraid. And when they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no man, save Jesus only.
And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.
But concerning the dead, that they rise, have you not read in the book of Moses, in the burning bush passage, how God spoke to him, saying, "I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living. You are therefore greatly mistaken."
Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.
1 Corinthians 13:12
For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
1 Corinthians 15:29
Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us
But you are come to mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to the company of many thousands of angels, And to the church of the firstborn, who are written in the heavens, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of the just made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new testament, and to the sprinkling of blood which speaketh better than that of Abel.
Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.
2 Peter 1:4
Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. [This answers the common question, "How can a mere person, even in Heaven, hear prayers from all over the world? That's something only God can do!" When we see God as He is, we come to share in His Divine Nature (not in His Divine Essence). See also I Corinthians 13:12 above.]
When he broke the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of all the people who had been killed on account of the word of God, for witnessing to it. They shouted aloud, "Holy, faithful Master, how much longer will you wait before you pass sentence and take vengeance for our death on the inhabitants of the earth?"
And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God. [nota bene, this is a HEAVENLY vision]
“Saints are alive in heaven.”
“We ask them to pray for us.”
Of course you do.
The better question is...
Do they hear?
Do they have any power that a Christian does not have already to BOLDLY approach the Throne of God?
The answer to the first is, we have no idea.
The answer to the second is, they do not.
If this is a doctrine from God, He would have either commanded it of His Church or shown it during the first 100 years of the Church. Neither is evident in scripture.
So pray away. You’ll never know if you are heard and you could have been talking directly to the Father.
**Do they hear?**
The pass our requests on to the Lord.
They would not even be Saints if requests had not been granted by God.
Did you read the Scripture above?
Salvation, yes I did read what you provided - none of which commands us to pray to departed Christians. none of which models anyone in the early Church praying to a departed Christian. Hence my post.
You have never asked anyone, living or dead, to pray for you?
Also, please remember that some of these Scriptures are not in a KJV.
Salvation, the people I ask to pray for me are in my physical presence and hear me. I know this because they answer, “Sure”.
Their are a great many translations of the Holy Scriptures. On my computer, I have 15-20. None of the translations command Christians to ask departed Christians to pray for them. None claim special access or powers to departed Christians. None say they can hear you, if you talk to them.
If this is such an important thing to God, why would he not have commanded it or shown 1st century Christians doing it or provided a record during the first 100 years of the church that demonstrated it?
It is simply an argument from later history that assumes things the Scripture never says or implies. In short, it isn’t from the Apostles Tradition, but was added much later. If that is good enough for you to believe it, you must be convinced in your own mind.
It is far better to go to the One who has all Power and Authority, who has commanded us to ASK IN HIS NAME.
If you are having trouble following the logic of Catholic mysticism ... take a couple of advil ... it lessens the pain.
The insistence that Christianity is limited to what appears in written Scripture is unscriptural.
from YOUR OWN ARTICLE....
OK, so why pray to saints? We pray to saints to ask them to pray for us...
Repeating in bold font for emphasis...
The Saints hear you too. They are alive.
Yes, bodies die, but souls remain alive and travel to heaven, hell or purgatory.
it is now and always has been idol worship
“The insistence that Christianity is limited to what appears in written Scripture is unscriptural.”
I did not do so. Try again.
“The saints hear you to.”
This shouldn’t be hard for you to prove then. Give it a shot. So far, you’ve shared opinion. But I for one am absolutely open to your proof. Then please share where any member of the Trinity commanded the Church to do this. I’m open. Go for it.
I’m afraid you did, or else what reason do you now give for dismissing intercessory prayer to saints?
Please read my posts again. If you read carefully, you will see I said no such thing. If you are unwilling to do that, it is your call.
You seem to be making an exception for “departed” that does not exist in scripture. We are to ask for other’s prayers, not excluding anyone in the Body of Christ.
As to the Saints in Heaven being aware we have scripture from Revelation and that concerning the “cloud of witnesses” to tell us they do - as well as being alive in Christ, God of the living.
So you do accept intercessory prayer to the saints in heaven, relying on the authority of the Church as custodian and interpreter of Sacred Tradition. Glad to hear it.
Note that this is the final article with which both the Catholic and Lutheran princes were in agreement. Seeking the intercession of the saints is neither commended nor explicitly condemned.
Article XXI: Of the Worship of the Saints.
1] Of the Worship of Saints they teach that the memory of saints may be set before us, that we may follow their faith and good works, according to our calling, as the Emperor may follow the example of David in making war to drive away the Turk from his country. 2] For both are kings. But the Scripture teaches not the invocation of saints or to ask help of saints, since it sets before us the one Christ as the Mediator, Propitiation, High Priest, and Intercessor. 3] He is to be prayed to, and has promised that He will hear our prayer; and this worship He approves above all, to wit, that in all afflictions He be called upon, 1 John 2:1: 4] If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, etc.
Catholics do not worship saints. We ask them to pray for us. That’s not worship.
We worship only God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the Catholic Church. Where are you getting this misinformation?
“You seem to be making an exception for departed that does not exist in scripture. We are to ask for others prayers, not excluding anyone in the Body of Christ.”
The distinction is in scripture and self evident. They are not here.
“As to the Saints in Heaven being aware we have scripture from Revelation and that concerning the cloud of witnesses to tell us they do - as well as being alive in Christ, God of the living.”
Yes, their lives witnessed the truth of God. They are not watching us.
“So you do accept intercessory prayer to the saints in heaven, relying on the authority of the Church as custodian and interpreter of Sacred Tradition. Glad to hear it.”
I gave you three shots. You’ve yet to get it right. Sorry.
bert gets his information from the little voices in his head that tell him what to say...he’s quite brave behind his keyboard ya know...
The distinction is in scripture and self evident. They are not here.
I think the opposite. Where is it clear and self evident to you, contradicting the cited scripture?
their lives witnessed the truth of God. They are not watching us.
If I am surrounded by witnesses, I think it is a required meaning that they are witnessing.
Of course, you may have your own interpretation, but I do not see where you have been convincing in using scripture to disprove the Communion of Saints in the creeds as taught by the Church.
“Of course, you may have your own interpretation, but I do not see where you have been convincing in using scripture to disprove the Communion of Saints in the creeds as taught by the Church.”
D-fender, I’ve not even tried. I have asked up thread for three kinds of proof, but it wasn’t given.
I do not have to disprove anything. I’m not the one who made a truth claim. I did state clearly that I am open to reviewing the evidence that would support this claim, but none was given.
We disagree on who needs to provide proof for their claim.
Scripture clearly indicates we are alive as the body of Christ and that our God is the God of the living and that the Saints in Heaven are part of Christ’s body and so on.
I see you as needing to provide proof that the Saints in heaven are excluded from the Body of Christ and, in this case, intercessory prayer.
You see, according to your interpretation, the need to prove they are included; I see the need to prove they are excluded.
It should be no surprise to you that I will stick with the Church as the authority rather than you.
I do appreciate your time, replies and discussion.
You are arguing something that I am not disagreeing with.
Now take that base we agree on and demonstrate :
1. Saints in heaven can hear you
2. That God wants us to pray to/through saints
3. That Christians understood this as an important part of Christian practice before 100ad,
It will probably not surprise you that like Paul commended, I will search the Holy Scriptures to see if the teachings of any man are true - including leaders of every and any Church.
Blessings to you in this new year.
Thanks for your reply.
The scriptures in the article, e.g. witnesses, demonstrate the awareness of the Saints in Heaven.
We are taught in scripture that God wishes us to pray for each other and ask for each others intercessory prayer and that we are one body, what we do effects each other and the whole.
As for the history of this practice, I’m unaware of when it was not, nor of a time when it was instituted. We see it in the first century writing of St. John the Evangelist and thereafter in the writings of various fathers of the Church.
It is part of the Christian faith to pray for each other and ask for each other’s intercessory prayer. That we are alive in Christ, that death does not separate us. The Communion of Saints is also part of the Christian faith as in the creeds. These two beliefs are part of our faith since its beginning, there is no indication otherwise. Rather, there is more evidence that it was lost - for some - in modern times.
Of course, it is not necessary or required as such that anyone pray for or ask for another’s intercession. It is both scripturally and historical taught that this is good, pleasing to God and for both our individual benefit and that of all the Church.
So, in my opinion, the loss of the full meaning of the Communion of Saints is like losing the realization of a large portion of the body of Christ.
Thanks again for your discussion and may God bless you and yours in the coming year.
Oh d, not a single Scripture in the article commanded or demonstrated this. Not one.
As to your 1st century writing, please post with date.
Revelation is first Century.
Other first century scripture including those in the body of Christ are alive in Christ. This is the teaching of Holy Scripture.
Do you disagree with this part?
Or with the part on intercessory prayer?
Or that the Saints in Heaven are aware?
I don’t understand where you are disconnecting from the Communion of Saints and intercessory prayer.
We agree that all saints of all time are alive.
We even agree that all saints of all time should pray (I think we agree).
We do not agree that saints up above watch us or are aware of what we are doing. They may or may not. Scripture does not tell us this.
We also see absolutely no evidence during the 1st 100 years of the Church that any Christian prayed to saints. As such, it was not part of Apostolic Tradition.
We also see no Scripture that commands or encourages saints down here to pray to saints up there. Why? If this is important for His Church, why didn’t God the Father command it? We are commanded to do all kinds of very important things.
There is no evidence that any Apostle prayed to any saint up above. The Apostle Paul watched the martyrdom of Steven, but there is no evidence that Paul prayed to anyone but God Himself.
No evidence that Peter or any other Apostle prayed to a saint above. Why?
We find no historical document (that I have found through research) before the late second or early third century that sees this happening. Why?
If this practice is a part of the Church - the Church that Christ founded - why don’t the Apostles - or even one Apostle - mention, command or instruct the Church to do so?
Because none of these things are evident, I can only conclude the origins of this practice are outside the Church and are totally unimportant - probably irrelevant.
Now, I don’t write any of that to get you or anyone else to change their mind. Many do not want to deal with those issues. I do. I want to do what is commanded of me - to study to show myself approved, rightly handling the Word of Truth.
In the end, so much has accreted to the practice of the Church that has no foundation in truth, that it takes work to cut it away.
In any case, if you have historical or Biblical evidence of any of the above, I am open, as we all should be. That also means I am open to disagreeing with that which is neither Biblically based, nor evident in the early teaching of the Apostles during their lives. Beyond that, cats have wondered into the Church and should be shooed out.
That helps, thanks.
I think the Hebrews scripture and Revelation scripture show that the Saints are aware. And they are alive, aware and concerned and praying/interceding.
As for as being required or commanded, no; as for it being assumed, recommended, asked for, a good and pleasing thing yes - particularly when we do not try to make a, false IMHO, separation between Saints in the Church Militant and Church Triumphant. It is only if we separate the Body of Christ that any possible conflict can occur - or the questions you ask can arise.
As for history of the practice: Of course, the longer the Christian Church exists, the more Saints there are, the more the practice as it concerns Christian Saints in Heaven increases. The great majority of Saints in Heaven were not even born when Holy Scripture was recorded.
Also, here’s a couple of quotes from the early Church that apply:
“[The Shepherd said:] But those who are weak and slothful in prayer, hesitate to ask anything from the Lord; but the Lord is full of compassion, and gives without fail to all who ask him. But you, [Hermas,] having been strengthened by the holy angel [you saw], and having obtained from him such intercession, and not being slothful, why do not you ask of the Lord understanding, and receive it from him?” (The Shepherd 3:5:4 [A.D. 80]).
Clement of Alexandria
“In this way is he [the true Christian] always pure for prayer. He also prays in the society of angels, as being already of angelic rank, and he is never out of their holy keeping; and though he pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him [in prayer]” (Miscellanies 7:12 [A.D. 208]).
Thanks for the two quotes. The first doesn’t show him praying to a Christian above, but to God, having seen an angel. The second is more than 200 years after Christ. I confess I couldn’t find any historical evidence any better.
I don’t have time to discuss Hebrews at the moment or Revelation. I will just say that neither refers to what is assumed in your post, but I’ve not time at the moment to give you an exposition in a fair way - and maybe you don’t care anyway. If you are interested, leave a message and I’ll do it over the next 24 hours. I’m just juggling too much already for one day.
There is a natural separation and difference between them and us. They are in the presence of God, in a spiritual existence, outside time and likely with new resurrection bodies. We are in our earth suits, here in time, and longing for eternity. That isn’t artificial. It is recognizing what is in reality true.
Speaking of caught in time, I’ll talk later.
The two quotes go together. The first to illustrate an angel's intercession. The second to identify the Saints in Heaven as in a similar state to that of angels.
You are correct that the Church Triumphant consists of Saints in a different state than ours. We are still connected - part of the same body of Christ in the Communion of Saints. And, I believe, you are incorrect in any thinking that this state or awareness is as limited as ours or even less than ours.
They are in the presence of God, in a spiritual existence, outside time We are in our earth suits, here in time That isnt artificial.
Yes, but from here you, apparently surmise they cannot be aware of us. I say you have the lesser awareness on the wrong side. We are almost infinitely less aware than they.
"For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."Thanks very much for your courtesy, time and discussion.
"I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents."
Credo in Deum Patrem omnipotentem;
Creatorem caeli et terrae.
Et in Jesum Christum,
Filium eius unicum, Dominum nostrum;
qui conceptus est
de Spiritu Sancto,
natus ex Maria virgine;
passus sub Pontio Pilato,
crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus;
descendit ad inferos;
tertia die resurrexit a mortuis;
ascendit ad caelos;
sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis;
inde venturus est
iudicare vivos et mortuos.
Credo in Spiritum Sanctum;
sanctam ecclesiam catholicam;
vitam aeternam. Amen.
I believe in God, the Father almighty,
creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ,
his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived
by the power of the Holy Spirit,
and born of the Virgin Mary,
He suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, died, and was buried;
He descended into hell.
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
he will come again
to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit,
the holy Catholic church,
the communion of saints,
the forgiveness of sins,
the resurrection of the body,
and the life everlasting. Amen
Again, my apologies for being busy the past few days (and have been sick) - and I too appreciate your spirit of reasoned discussion, vs. the all to common lots of heat and not much light that occurs in the religion forum. Though we disagree, I appreciate who you are.
Now, to get back to the conversation. You present two verses to attempt to show that saints up above are aware of what is happening on earth. The first is from I Corinthians 13 and the second Gospel passage about angels rejoicing about the conversion of a sinner.
This is just one dimension of our discussion and doesn’t cover any other question I posed to you, but let’s look at each passage and go further, if you wish.
I Corinthians 13
I’m sure you know that the context of this passage is the Apostle Paul’s discussion of spiritual gifts in Corinth. This section begins in chapter 12 and carries through the end of chapter 14. In particular, Paul addresses the problems occurring in the church of Corinth with the sign gifts - tongues, prophecy, etc.
Paul closes chapter 12 by saying “But earnestly desire the greater gifts. And I show you a still more excellent way.”
In chapter 13, Paul begins to write of the superiority of love to the gifts. This chapter forms the immediate context of the passage you quote. Here is an outline:
v 1-3 - the necessity of love
v 4-7 - the character of love
v 8-13 - the permanence of love
Stop here for a moment, since this leads to the verse you cite. Paul argues in these verses that spiritual gifts are just for the present time, but that love will is both for now and forever. Gifts are a temporary provision for the Church, but love is an abiding fruit of the Spirit.
V 8 - “Love never fails; but if there are gifts of prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away.”
v 9, 10 - “For we know in part and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away”
v 11-13 - “When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the greatest of these is love.”
Finally, to your passage. Here Paul continues his argument that the gifts are passing away. Children mature and grow in maturity. In the future, we will be mature and these things will be put away (gifts). Mirrors at the time were made of polished bronze (Corinth was known for making these mirrors), which didn’t reflect much detail. In the future, we will not rely on a reflection, but will be seeing God face to fact. Now we have limited knowledge of Him, though He has full knowledge of us. In the future, we will know Him fully as He knows us fully now... and of course, faith, hope and love will abide always.
Your use of this passage argued that “fully known” refers to everything or at least to that which is happening below. Based on the context, of the chapter and the surrounding passage, it does not teach that. The context isn’t about saints above knowing things below, it is about the superiority of faith, hope, and love to the spiritual gifts - and that something better is coming. Knowing God face to face.
D, having written that just now, I would observe that even if it did teach that saints above are aware of things below, it does not say they can hear us, that they pray for us, that they relay our prayers to God, or that it is advantageous in any way to pray to them instead of going directly to God, as we are commanded to do.
Your second passage is Luke 15:10.
Here we agree. The angels rejoice in salvation of a sinner who turns to God for salvation! Rightly so.
Unfortunately, your argument is that either we should pray to angels or that they understand our prayers or???
Based Paul’s revalation... “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?”
We know they serve those who will inherit salvation - those who have entrusted themselves to Christ’s payment for our sins.
That is quite a different issue than your argument that we should pray to angels.
I’ll leave it there. I could take time to do an exposition of Hebrews, but we are left with these questions that you have not answered...
1. If we are to pray to saints up above, why are we not commanded to do so anywhere in Scripture? Even once??
2. If praying to saints up above is important, why is there no record or any Apostle doing so? Why didn’t isn’t Mary or any other believer in the Scriptures shown praying to a saint above? Even once??
3. Why are there no examples during the first 100 years of the Church of anyone praying to a saint up above??
I asked additional questions above that were not answered on this thread, so I won’t repeat them here.
Again, I appreciate the rationale discussion. I don’t expect to change a mind here any more than I expect to change the believe I’ve come to after numerous discussions that presented no evidence. I don’t know if you have additional evidence to bring to the discussion. If so, as I mentioned, I am always open to evidence. I have searched high and low. I’ve come up empty and concluded it is a practice that was added to the Church sometime in the second century - later.
Kindest Regards and best wishes to you in the new year.
An extremely quick reply to one point, more later...
Angel of God, my Guardian dear, to whom His love commits me here, ever this day (or night) be at my side, to light and guard, to rule and guide. Amen.
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