(Continued from page 326)No early council of Papal Rome can be found to have ruled on what was canonical!
You write: You must not read history well. Everything else you mention is pretty much protestant mythology, traditional protestant bigotries, false hoods [sic], fabrications of history, and blatant outright lies. A case in point is your protestant falsehood and infantile misunderstanding that because the Synod of Antioch, Council of Nicea, and Council of Laodicea do not make mention of which texts are inspired, that therefore these Councils assumed Catholics knew the precise canon of scripture. That is simply fallacious. You also make reference to the terms 'the ecclesiastical canon', 'the canon' and 'canonized.' In case you did not know, the term canon/ecclesiastical canon/canonized refer to the Church's disciplinary laws. These collections of Canons from the Early Church Councils are today found and retained in the Code of Canon Law. When you look at the Acts of these Councils, you will notice numerous canons/decreed laws, to which all must take heed to [sic] and obey. They mention nothing of Sacred Scripture you astounding protestant liar. You've never read the Acts of these Councils but simply used rehashed protestant pre-packaged lies and assumed that the 'history' was accurate. That is the problem of reading protestant mythology and being too lazy to double check the information and actual history. It shows that you are not interested in the truth, but only in constructing lies and confusing undiscerning people; (which protestants generally are).Does 'Tradition' - 'oral teachings' of the apostles - have a place?
TCE: For someone who regularly errs in simple writing to try and criticise others (e.g. 'You must not read history well') you would do well to take heed of your own criticism! We have thoroughly refuted all of your contrary claims and readers will recognise your continuing use of factless bluster and endless ad hominem attacks! In doing so you also reveal your clear and utter bias against anything 'protestant' which you foolishly believe will suffice instead of actual evidence. Whatever you do, failing to use a capital P in 'Protestant' will not prevent facts from remaining exactly that and, if you could disprove us, you would have done so by now! Despite your claims for the records of the Councils of Papal Rome it remains a fact that the records are limited and were only kept at a much later date than you wish to believe - and, again, this is exactly why you cannot refute us!
For readers not familiar with the reason you go out of your way to be insulting and dismissive without attempting an answer ('A case in point is your protestant falsehood and infantile misunderstanding that because the Synod of Antioch, Council of Nicea, and Council of Laodicea do not make mention of which texts are inspired, that therefore these Councils assumed Catholics knew the precise canon of scripture. That is simply fallacious.') we refer them to our comment that the claim made by Papal Roman Catholics that the New Testament comes from the Church by decision of their Councils is false - for this simple reason: No early council even ruled on what was canonical!
Yet both sides in these Councils quoted the New Testament to support their arguments which had obviously been accepted by general consensus without any conciliar definition of the canon. The Synod of Antioch, in A.D. 266, denounced the doctrine of Paul of Samosata as 'foreign to the ecclesiastical canon.' The Council of Nicea in 325 refers to 'the canon'; and the Council of Laodicea in 363 exhorted that 'only the canonized books of both Old and New Testaments be read in the church.' Since none of those Councils deemed it necessary to list the canonized books it makes it more than reasonable to presume that they were already well-known and accepted - certainly by the common consent of Christians indwelt by the Holy Spirit. It wasn't until the Third Council of Carthage, in A.D. 397, that we have the first conciliar decision on the canon (Henry Clarence Theissen, Introduction to the New Testament, W. B. Eerdmans, 1943, p26). Clearly, this is rather late if, without it, Christians didn't know what books were in the New Testament and therefore couldn't use them, as Papal Rome claims today! History proves that the books of the New Testament were known and accepted by Christians and in wide circulation and use at least 300 years before Carthage listed them.
Historian W.H.C. Frend writes:
The Gospels and epistles were circulating in Asia, Syria, and Alexandria (less certainly in Rome), and being read and discussed in the Christian synagogues there by about 100 AD. In Polycarp's short letter there is an astonishing amount of direct and indirect quotation from the New Testament: Matthew, Luke, and John, Acts, the letters to the Galatians, Thessalonians, Corinthians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Romans, the Pastorals, 1 Peter particularly, and 1 and 2 John are all used ... The Christian Scriptures were quoted so familiarly as to suggest that they had been in regular use a long time. (W.H.C. Frend, The Rise of Christianity, Philadelphia, 1984, p135).
Since you prefer to throw insults around rather than indulge in genuine research we will simply quote from a commentary (available on several websites at the time of writing) approved and authorised by Pope Pius XII, namely, 'A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture' (Editorial Committee: Dom Bernard Orchard M.A. (Cantab.) - General Editor and New Testament Editor; Revelation. Edmund F. Sutcliffe S.J., M.A. (Oxon.), L.S.S.; Old Testament Editor: Revelation. Reginald C. Fuller D.D., L.S.S. - Secretary of the Catholic Biblical Association; Dom Ralph Russell D.D., M.A. (Oxon.) - Hon. Secretary and Treasurer (with a foreword by the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster); Thomas Nelson & Sons, Toronto; New York; Edinburgh: 1953):
ACKNOWLEDGMENT of the copy of the Catholic Commentary presented to Pope Pius XII
SEGRETERIA DI STATO DI SUA SANTITA
Dal Vaticano, li
January 29, 1954
Dear Dom Orchard
I have the honour to acknowledge, at the August direction of the Holy Father, the copy of A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture which you in the name of the Editorial Committee presented to Him in the Audience of August 26th last, and also the specially bound copy of the same volume which was subsequently received by His Holiness.
The Sovereign Pontiff would have me convey to you and to all those associated with you in the preparation and publication of this volume, His sentiments of paternal gratification. In the accomplishment of the difficult task of editing a scientific commentary, in small compass, on the entire Bible, you have succeeded in producing a most useful work for all English-speaking countries. It is to be presumed that scholarly research and the zeal for accuracy of the Editorial Committee will further enhance this usefulness by the incorporation of necessary or opportune improvements in the future editions of so valuable a publication.
With the prayer that this Commentary may serve through its diffusion among English-speaking Catholics as an aid towards an increased knowledge and love of the Sacred Scriptures, the Sovereign Pontiff imparts to you, to the members of the Editorial Committee, and to all your associates, His special Apostolic Blessing.
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With sentiments of esteem, I remain, Devotedly yours in Christ,
J. B. MONTINI
Dom Bernard Orchard, O.S.B.
London W. 5
P V FOREWORD
WHEN shortly after my appointment as Archbishop of Westminster at the end of 1943 I learned that some members of the Catholic Biblical Association were contemplating the preparation in one volume of a Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, I readily gave this ambitious venture my full approval and blessing. I was well aware of the need of such a work, and I was confident that those who proposed setting about this task were encouraged to do so largely by what our Holy Father, Pope Pius XII, had written earlier that year in his encyclical DIVINO AFFLANTE SPIRITU. After dealing with the improved conditions for biblical study, His Holiness had written: 'Now, therefore, that textual criticism has attained such a high level of perfection, biblical scholars have the honourable though not always easy duty of using every endeavour to procure that, as soon as it is possible and opportune, editions of the Sacred Books and the ancient versions shall be prepared by Catholics in conformity with these critical standards; editions, that is, in which a scrupulous observance of all the laws of criticism shall be combined with the deepest reverence for the sacred text'.
The editorial committee have laboured hard for nine years to produce this commentary. They have realized that their efforts will not produce a 'popular' work, but all serious readers of the Bible will appreciate the immense value of this commentary. With new translations of Holy Scripture and with the improved presentation of texts which have come about by the devoted interest of publishers, more and more people are reading the Scriptures. There is a need for guidance in this matter and the appearance of this work is most opportune.
In his encyclical the Holy Father referred particularly to the serious obligation incumbent on the faithful to make use of the Scriptures and of the distilled wisdom of those who have endeavoured with great labour to interpret Holy Writ, for, writes the Pope, 'God did not grant the Sacred Books to men to satisfy their curiosity or to provide them with an object of study and research; these divine oracles were bestowed as the Apostle tells us in order that they might 'instruct to salvation by the Faith which is in Christ Jesus' and 'that the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work' '.
There is no dearth of Catholic scriptural scholars and the committee has been fortunate in having so wide a field from which to select its commentators. Indeed, they are drawn from throughout the English-speaking world, from the secular clergy and the religious orders alike. I am confident that for many years the value of this commentary will be deeply appreciated by all English-speaking Catholics. I thank the Catholic Biblical Association and, in particular, the editorial committee for all they have done in so worthy a cause. Their work has borne great fruit, and I am confident that in welcoming the appearance of this commentary I am speaking for thousands who will appreciate its immense value and scholarship.
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X BERNARD CARDINAL GRIFFIN
Archbishop of Westminster
30 April 1952
TCE: first, a few brief notes taken from the first section, entitled:
THE PLACE OF THE BIBLE IN THE CHURCH BY WILLIAM LEONARD AND DOM BERNARD ORCHARD
§ b Introductory - It may seem a little strange to begin a work on the Bible with a discussion of its place in the Church rather than with a formal account of its general character and history. But since the true position and authority of the Bible in Christian Society has been most unfortunately confused and obscured in the aftermath of the religious dissensions of the sixteenth century, it seems the most logical and candid thing to state unequivocally at the head of this Volume the conviction underlying the work of all the contributors to it, viz. that it is impossible to understand aright the Bible and its message unless the Bible itself be first viewed in its right setting, i.e. not merely as the eclectic product of certain outstanding members of that divine society that has existed in the world ever since God called Abram out of Your [sic - 'Ur'] of the Chaldees, but rather as the divinely inspired crystallization of the spirit and teaching of that society at times and places specially chosen by the Spirit of God dwelling within it.
It will therefore be well to state at the head of this article that both Church ('the Israel of God') and Bible belong to an order of providence which has destined man to a supernatural end. The divine decree, which elevated mankind from the beginning to fellowship in the divine nature, made necessary a supernatural revelation of God's purpose, of the secrets of his divinity, of the counsels of his wisdom and goodness. This communication of heavenly knowledge began to be made from the day of man's creation and, as God's purpose was not revoked after the fall, but more wonderfully embodied in a plan of redemption, supernatural revelation continued. The preparation of the Redeemer's coming was a progressive revelation, but the definitive manifestation of all God's purpose on behalf of the human race was made by the Son of God Incarnate in the fullness of time, cf. Hebrew 1:1.
§ c A living teaching authority is prior to every single book of Divine Scripture - There is no evidence for the existence (or destruction) of any divinely-inspired Scriptures of pre-mosaic date. Whatever divine revelation or communication there was in the early days of the human race probably took place by word of mouth only, and was handed on orally from generation to generation. God communicated his message to certain men and they in turn on his behalf transmitted it to their fellow-men in human language. This is what we mean by prophecy, which became a permanent - though variously distributed - institution in Israel, and produced all or nearly all of the forty-five books that form the Old Testament. From Moses onward God made provision that a part of what emanated 'from the chair of Moses' for the instruction of the people should under a charisma associated with and akin to prophetic inspiration be committed to writing. Thus the Bible grew.
We are here concerned, however, not with the Hebrew 'Church' and its Bible but with the Christian Church and the Bible which it partly inherited from Judaism and partly created out of the fund of Christian revelation and history. The same providence, indeed, obtains and is even more visibly in evidence when the Church of Christ begins to execute her divine commission to go out and teach all nations from Judaea to the ends of the earth. It is absurd, even psychologically, that the grace of Pentecost should be dominated by the letter of a book. The fact is that, while the Apostles looked upon themselves primarily as witnesses of Christ, the living organism 'which is the pillar and the ground of truth' functioned as a voice, and its ministers were 'servants of the word', the term 'word' meaning the spoken word.
§ d A living voice is not, however, incompatible with a written source of revelation. A written fount of truth has its own special advantages. It is the fixation of a considerable part of the deposit entrusted to the Church. Thus Scripture becomes her patrimony, and is rightly reckoned amongst her greatest treasures. In preaching the living word she has the support of a fixed text. The revelation which she holds is, therefore, as the Council of Trent defined, 'contained in written books and in traditions without writing - traditions which were received from the mouth of Christ himself and from the Apostles under dictation of the Holy Spirit and have come down to us, delivered, as it were, from hand to hand' (Sess. iv, EB 46).
§ e We must not, however, imagine Scripture and Tradition to be like two distinct reservoirs receiving the waters of divine truth from distinct and separate springs. There is in a sense but one source of revealed truth, viz. divine Tradition, by which is meant the body of revealed truth handed down from the Apostles through the ages and contained in the doctrine, teaching and practice of the Catholic Church. Yet since a large and important part of that revelation was committed to writing both before and after the time of Christ the Church is accustomed to speak of two sources of revelation, oral Tradition and Scripture. The peculiar character and importance of Scripture - the written part of this divine Tradition - derives solely from the fact that it is the inspired word of God,' a letter written by our heavenly father and transmitted by the sacred writers to the human race in its pilgrimage so far from its heavenly country' (Chrys. In Genesis. hom. 2.2).
The two streams of oral Tradition and Scripture happily mix, for in the living magisterium of the Church these are living waters springing together unto life everlasting. It is the Church, the holder of Tradition, that gives life to the dead letter of Scripture. Experience shows that it is only in the life of the Church, the Bride of Christ, that Scripture, divinely inspired as it is, becomes 'living and effectual, and more piercing than any two-edged sword' (Hebrew 4:12).
§ f Since the Bible is not the only source from which the truths of revelation must be drawn, the Fathers of Trent expressly condemned the innovators who made the Bible the sole arbiter of doctrine, rejecting Tradition and substituting individual religious judgement for the judgement of a teaching Church. The things which the Church is commissioned to teach out of the Bible are matters of faith and morals pertinent to the building up of Christian doctrine. In regard to these truths the authority of Tradition and of the Bible is equal. Either one or the other will certify that a certain proposition is in the divine-apostolic deposit. Nevertheless, as we shall see later, the Church is superior to the Bible in the sense that she is the Living Voice of Christ, and therefore the sole infallible interpreter of the inspired Word, whenever an authoritative interpretation is required (§ 39b).
Moreover the inspiration of the whole Bible cannot be known from the Bible, but only through the Church. For the biblical Canon can only be established by the Church. Hence it is the Church alone that has made known which are the inspired books (cf. §§ 11-18). On the other hand the Church is not directly commissioned to teach everything narrated in the Bible, e.g. that Abraham lived in Hebron. Of itself the residence of a patriarch at Hebron does not enter into the edifice of Christian doctrine which guides souls by faith and good works to the bliss of eternity. The infallibility of the Church only pertains to all such necessary matters of faith and morality as lead men to heaven, while the infallibility of the Bible pertains to everything authentically contained in the biblical pages. It would be erroneous, however, to think that the Church has no interest in the fact of Abraham's residence at Hebron. It is asserted in Scripture and is therefore infallibly true. The Church, as the champion of the Bible's inerrancy, has the right to condemn any denial of an authentic biblical statement. At the same time, a secondary fact such as that mentioned from patriarchal history cannot itself directly be [sic] matter for a positive infallible definition.
Again the question is sometimes asked whether all revealed truth may not be found at least obscurely in Scripture. It is impossible, however, to make an absolute affirmation in the terms of the above question; but, relatively speaking, so much is contained in the Bible that it is difficult to assert that certain particular truths of Christian faith and conduct are nowhere found in it. It is, for instance, said that the Bible nowhere teaches the distinction between mortal and venial sin. The distinction, it seems, is nowhere clearly enunciated, but it is hard to say that it cannot be gathered from the whole assemblage of passages where mention is made of great sins such as exclude [sic] from the kingdom of God and of other faults which do not seem to be regarded as seriously staining the honour of those who commit them.
§ g Since Scripture is a communication from an all-loving Providence for the purpose of guiding mankind in the path of perfection (cf. § 2), it is clear that it should be studied primarily with a view to one's own spiritual profit. That is, we should seek its spiritual message and apply it to ourselves. This is Bible study par excellence, which for its success always requires the help of God's grace. It is of course connected, to a greater or lesser degree, with what we may call scientific Bible study, which aims at elucidating the meaning of the text with the aid both of secular sciences such as philology and archaeology, and of Church Tradition.
§ h Purely scientific Bible study has its own place and value in biblical matters, but its subordinate position should always be recognized. Such study is ultimately justified only if it helps to make the spiritual content clearer and more readily available. The philological elucidation or literary analysis of a passage may well be elevated to the spiritual plane by the motive of the one carrying it out, but in itself it has no spiritual value. For example, the study of the Synoptic Problem is in itself an exercise in literary criticism that has no more spiritual value for the student than the study of the Baconian theory of Shakespearean authorship, although the materials under discussion, the words of the Bible, are of course infinitely superior from the point of view of their origin.
Leonard, W., & Orchard, B. (1953). The Place of the Bible in the Church. In B. Orchard & E. F. Sutcliffe (Eds.), A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture (p. 2). Toronto; New York; Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson.
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TCE: genuine, orthodox Christians will reel in disbelief at the ludicrous claims in the 'Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture'! As already noted, we have thoroughly refuted the foolish claims for 'Tradition' (see links below) that Papal Rome uses to try and force people into line - their line!
Those not used to the manic stupidity of Papal Rome can hardly imagine the depths to which they will stoop in their desperate attempts to support their cult leaders - the Papacy. You have clearly and repeatedly trumpeted the same 'Alice in Wonderland' type statements (akin to: 'words mean whatever I want them to mean') whenever you choose to refuse to believe our clear interpretation of any part of Scripture!
We have already written extensively on these claims for the 'Tradition' of Papal Rome at:
Passages in Scripture point to the importance of Tradition?
Papal Historical Revisionism hides the truth
It should be obvious to any mentally capable, un-biased reader, that the claims that Papal Rome relies on are very easily refuted. Far from resorting to any equivalent to your repeated blather about supposed 'rehashed protestant pre-packaged lies ... protestant mythology ... being too lazy to double check the information and actual history ... not interested in the truth, but only in constructing lies and confusing undiscerning people ...' it is easy to show that all of your accusations fit your abilities perfectly - just swap 'protestant' for Papal Roman Catholic!
We would never accuse all Papal Roman Catholics of such things, although the majority suffer from being gullible and 'undiscerning' as the many exposures of Papal Rome over the centuries have revealed - e.g. the deliberately fraudulent document manufactured for the popes, known as The Donation of Constantine.
We have already written extensively on this matter at:
When is a 'Pope' not a 'Pope' but an 'anti-pope'?
Catholics decided on the Old Testament Canon?
Now the fact that you wrote:
'A case in point is your protestant falsehood and infantile misunderstanding that because the Synod of Antioch, Council of Nicea, and Council of Laodicea do not make mention of which texts are inspired, that therefore these Councils assumed Catholics knew the precise canon of scripture. That is simply fallacious. You also make reference to the terms 'the ecclesiastical canon', 'the canon' and 'canonized.' In case you did not know, the term canon/ecclesiastical canon/canonized refer to the Church's disciplinary laws. These collections of Canons from the Early Church Councils are today found and retained in the Code of Canon Law. When you look at the Acts of these Councils, you will notice numerous canons/decreed laws, to which all must take heed to [sic] and obey. They mention nothing of Sacred Scripture you astounding protestant liar. You've never read the Acts of these Councils but simply used rehashed protestant pre-packaged lies and assumed that the 'history' was accurate.'
Since you make a series of claims regarding 'canon' (and derivative terms) we return to 'A Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture', the Section by R.J. Foster, below 'The Formation and History of the Canon (OT and NEW TESTAMENT)' to read your 'papal approved' experts opinion of the terms you believe you know so much about:
'Meaning of Canon - The Greek word which gives us the word Canon primarily signified a rod or bar, and so came to mean a measuring rod. Then it was used metaphorically for any rule or standard of excellence in art or literature - thus the ancient Greek authors were called canons - or for a rule of conduct, as by St Paul, Gal 6:16. Similarly, the rules, decisions and decrees, enacted by the Church to be the standard of doctrine, discipline and worship, were called canons, and, for a like reason, men talked of the 'Canon of Scripture' or of the 'Canonical Scriptures', because they contained the rule or standard of faith and morals. But this is not the sense in which the phrase 'Canon of Scripture' is commonly used. The word Canon was also used of lists or catalogues, of persons or objects to serve as a rule for distinguishing one from the other (cf. H. Stephanus, Thesaurus Graecae Linguae, London, 18232, 5, 4762). For example, Ptolemy's Canon of Kings, compiled in the 2nd cent. A.D., is a list of Babylonian, Persian, Greek and Roman kings with the length of their reigns (cf. Cambridge Ancient History, 1, 149; A. Deimel, S. J., Veteris Testamenti Chronologia, Rome, 1912, pp 25 ff.).
The term 'Canon of Scripture' might possibly have been used originally in this sense. However the common understanding of the term is that it denotes the collection or list of books acknowledged and accepted by the Church as inspired, i.e. Canon is taken in the passive sense of the books conforming to the 'rule' for their acceptance as inspired works. In which case the list or catalogue would serve to distinguish the sacred from the profane writings. Similarly books are said to be 'canonical' or 'canonized' when they form part of the Canon. The earliest certain evidence of this usage is from the works of St Athanasius ca. 350), although there are some who believe (from indications in Latin versions of his works) that it was used much earlier by Origen (†254). This scriptural Canon comprises the OT and NEW TESTAMENT, and it is the purpose of the present article to trace the formation and history of both.
We have already examined the various derivative meanings of 'canon' and Papal Rome's foolish attempts to claim that it controlled the process of deciding which books were in the canon to which we referred, and which were excluded - see our extensive material concerning the Old Testament and New Testament canon at:
Catholic bishops decided canonicity of the New Testament?
When was the New Testament Canon Established?
Protestants still use Luther's canon of the Bible instead of the rightful Catholic one?
Jesus, Great High Priest after the order of Melchizedek, proves Rome's priesthood is blasphemous!
You write: Additionally, the subjects and adherents to these Councils were Catholics (not protestants) and you reject their teachings and disciplinary decrees/canons. It is analogous to favorably citing and pretending to accept the authority and council of another religion and then rejecting that religion. Your deceit is truly odious, rabid, shocking, and astounding.
TCE: Tragically, you are now confusing the quotations of the work of your authorities - which we used in order to expose the deceit of Papal Rome - with someone 'favorably citing and pretending to accept the authority and council of another religion and then rejecting that religion' - and then you conclude - 'Your deceit is truly odious, rabid, shocking, and astounding.' A logical conclusion to come to is that your Papal beliefs have led you to descend into some form of religious mania since you continue: 'What you said in regard to the Papacy, and your protestant stipulations and man made fabrications of what Apostolic Succession in St. Peter is, can be beast [sic] termed as protestant insanity.'
You write: Apostolic Succession in the See of Pope St. Peter does not function according to your protestant private interpretation and imagination. It is in the prerogative of the Pope how he'll be succeeded. Your feeble attempt to reference 'the so called laying on of hands' is, quite sadly, a poor desperate attempt. This is a reference to Ordination.
TCE: once again you fail to notice that foolishly blustering that we have used 'protestant private interpretation and imagination' in order to disprove what you like to believe is 'Apostolic Succession' does not refute our proof in the slightest. It is only Scripture, facts and logic that can do that and you are patently incapable of producing any of these - as you prove by their absence in your supposed reply!
You write: I note that you protestants by the way, don't believe in the Priesthood nor have one, or if you do, as the Anglicans, it is invalid and lacking in Apostolic Succession. St. Timothy was ordained a Priest and then Consecrated a Bishop.
TCE: It is a great pity that Papal Roman Catholics rarely read the Bible and, when they do, have been programmed to read it through the prism of indoctrination by their masters in the Vatican.
Anyone reading through the Bible on their own will find that the priesthood of the Old Testament, along with the other elements of the old dispensation, including the sacrificial system, the ritual, the Levitical law, the temple, etc., has served its purpose and has passed away. With the coming of Christ and the accomplishment of redemption through His work, the entire Old Testament legalistic and ritualistic system which had prefigured it became obsolete and passed away as a unit. All of this is clearly explained in the masterpiece that is the Book of Hebrews and there is no person in the history of the world who can refute the clear truth spelt out there which reveals the beautiful truth that real believers have a Great, Eternal, Holy High Priest, who is the Lord Jesus Christ and He alone is now The Priest for all believers!
The New Testament nowhere uses the word for priest to describe a leader in Christian service and we know that the Jewish priesthood was changed forever (Hebrews 7:12) and Christ is now our 'priest forever after the order of Melchizedek' (Hebrews 7:17).
In typical Papal Rome fashion we find that the Douay but not the Confraternity Bible version uses the word 'priest' (in a Christian connection), but the Greek never uses the word hiereus (priest), nor does the Latin use sacerdos (priest). While the clear mistranslation of the Douay was corrected in the later Roman Catholic Confraternity edition it was obvious, long before this happened, that the priesthood you believe in is false - and an invention of Papal Rome!
In the New Testament there are two separate Greek words for elder and priest which do not mean the same thing at all - and the New Testament never confuses them. The Greek word, presbuteros (from which we get presbyter/presbyterian) means 'elder' - and never means priest!
The other word that appears in the New Testament in pages referring to the role of the presbuteros ('elder') is episkopos ('overseer') which has long been widely recognised by theologians to refer to the same leader in the Church. So 'overseer', sometimes translated 'bishop' (episkopos), is equivalent to the 'elder' or 'presbyter' (presbuteros).' This view was also commonly held by the early 'fathers' and, in the early fifth century, Jerome commented: 'Indeed with the ancients these names were synonymous, one alluding to the office, the other to the age of the clergy.' (Jerome, Letter 69.3, in The Principle Works of St. Jerome, translated by W. H. Fremantle with the assistance of G. Lewis and W. G. Martley, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2nd series, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1952, 6:143. Scholar J. B. Lightfoot noted further: 'But, though more full than other writers, [Jerome] is hardly more explicit. Of his predecessors the Ambrosian Hilary had discerned the same truth. Of his contemporaries and successors, Chrysostom, Pelagius, Theodore of Mopsuestia, Theodoret, all acknowledge it. Thus in every one of the extant commentaries on the epistles containing the crucial passages, whether Greek or Latin, before the close of the fifth century, this identity is affirmed'.
Those who question why two terms, presbuteros ('elder') and episkopos ('overseer') can represent the same office fail to recognise that elder is more a description of character, whereas overseer is more a description of the leaders function. It seems that Jewish congregations apparently favoured the term presbuteros, while the Gentile congregations favoured the term episkopos. Over time, however, these two terms came to be used interchangeably in both congregations since they referred to the leaders of the congregation. It is likely that both terms were retained due to the important connotations each term carried. The term presbuteros (comparative of presbus - meaning elderly; older; a senior; especially, an Israelite Sanhedrist - hence its popularity with Jewish converts) conveyed the idea of a wise, mature leader who was honoured and respected by those of the community while the term episkopos (from the Greek episkopeo - to oversee; to beware; to overlook diligently) spoke more of the work of the individual whose duty was to 'oversee' and protect those under his care.
The precise New Testament word for priest is hiereus and, in Greek, from the days of Homer down, this word had a singular meaning. It meant a man appointed, consecrated, or otherwise endowed with power to perform certain technical functions of ritual worship, especially to offer acceptable sacrifices, and to make effectual prayers. Likewise in the Septuagint hiereus is the regular, if not invariable translation, of the Old Testament Hebrew - kohen and kahen - which is the only Hebrew word for priest and it occurs more than 400 times in the Old Testament in this sense. In the New Testament, hiereus always means priest and never means elder (archiereus is used for the high-priest - literally, of the Jews, and of Christ - or chief priest; hierosune is used for sacredness, priestly office, priesthood). Nowhere in the New Testament is there even a shadow of an allusion to a Christian priest in the ordinary sense of the word, that is, a man qualified as over against others not qualified for the special function of offering sacrifices, making priestly intercessions, or performing any other act which only a priest can perform.
Most importantly and utterly devastating for Papal Rome:
The Epistle to the Hebrews attributes both priesthood and high-priesthood to Christ and to Him alone. The argument of the Epistle not only indicates that a Christian priesthood was unknown to the writer, but that such a priesthood is unallowable. The Great High Priest Jesus ('after the order of Melchizedek' - Hebrews 7:17) has performed perfectly and permanently the function of a priest for all believers. His priesthood, being Perfect and Eternal, renders a continuous human priesthood both needless and anachronistic but, worse, a blasphemous insult to God!
Paul makes the different kinds of ministers and agents in the Christian church extremely clear, and the office of priest is not among them, as Scripture clearly reveals:
(Eph. 4:11): 'And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers'.
(1 Corinthians 12:28) 'And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondly prophets, thirdly teachers'
The only New Testament verses that speak of a priesthood involving Christians is found at 1 Peter 2:9-10:
'But ye are a elect race, a royal priesthood (Greek: hierateuma), a holy nation, a people for God's own possession, that ye may show forth the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: who in time past were no people, but now are the people of God: who had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
This verse speaks of an 'a elect race, a royal priesthood (Greek: hierateuma), a holy nation, a people for God's own possession' and we clearly read in Revelation of when this 'nation' becomes a 'kingdom' of priests - and reign with Christ for 'a thousand years':
Revelation 1:6 and he made us to be a kingdom, to be priests (hiereus) unto his God and Father; to him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Revelation 5:9 And they sing a new song, saying, Worthy art thou to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou was slain, and didst purchase unto God with thy blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation,10 and madest them to be unto our God a kingdom and priests (hiereus); and they reign upon earth.
Revelation 20:6 Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: over these the second death hath no power; but they shall be priests (hiereus) of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.
So, for ALL Christians, when God rent the temple veil our great mediating High Priest opened the way for ALL of us to have access to the throne of God (1 Tim. 2: 5). It also means that, as believer-priests, we can come into God's presence at any time through the Great High Priest, our LORD (YHWH) and Saviour, Jesus Christ with the confidence that we will obtain mercy and find grace to help us in times of need.
This should be good news for all women in the cult of Papal Rome and its off-shoots, such as the Anglicans, where, instead of seeking equality with men and becoming equally fake priests, they need to recognise that they are in the brotherhood of believers and part of the universal holy priesthood - as proven by the Scriptures above.
Is there any mention of 'mediatorial' or 'sacramental' priests or a priesthood held by mere mortal men in the New Testament church? The answer is emphatically, 'No'!
The only mediatorial priesthood recognized in the New Testament is that of Christ, the great High Priest who perfected His work as Son of Man and Son of God, and to Him alone is the title 'priest' (hiereus) applied in these beautiful words (Hebrews 7:17; cf. Psa. 110:4):
'Thou art a priest for ever, after the order of Melchizedek'
'But He, because he abideth for ever, hath his priesthood unchangeable. Wherefore also he is able to save to the uttermost them that draw near unto God through him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. For such a high priest became us, holy, guiltless, undefiled, separated from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; who needeth not daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins, and then for the sins of the people: for this he did once for all, when he offered up himself' (Hebrews 7:24-27)
'For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified' (Hebrews 10:14).
The priesthood occupied such an important place in the Old Testament dispensation and in the spiritual lives of the Jewish people, that it is inconceivable that God would have made no mention of it at all if it was to be continued in the New Testament dispensation. Jesus would have ordered how priests were to be chosen, ordained, and given details of their functions - just as He did in the Old Testament priesthood. The fact of the matter is that the Old Testament priesthood was the human, Aaronic priesthood, and that by its very nature it was, like the sacrificial system and the elaborate temple worship of which it was a part, a temporary affair, a mere shadow and pre-figurement of the reality that was to come - which is exactly what the Book to the Hebrews explains.
With the coming of Christ and the establishment of His priesthood, the Old Covenant was over and the priesthood as an order of clergy was abolished.
In the Epistle to the Hebrews the inspired writer devotes chapter after chapter in elucidating the Superiority of Christ in every way and showing that the Old Testament priesthood was now abolished because it was just a shadow of the reality that was fulfilled in Christ Jesus. There is, therefore, no place in Christianity for a sacrificing priesthood, because Christ 'through his own blood, entered in once for all into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption,' and that He has offered 'one sacrifice for sins for ever' (Hebrews 9:12; 10:12).
The Old Testament priests, with their innumerable animal sacrifices, were effective in their work of reconciling the people to God only because they represented the true High Priest and the one true sacrifice that was to come. But after the reality appeared there would be no more need for the shadows and types that had preceded it. Many first-century Hebrew Christians struggled to understand the priesthood of Jesus Christ. Growing up under the Levitical system of animal sacrifices, they had centred their faith in the Aaronic priesthood and Mosaic Law. But Hebrews 7:11-28 clearly explains why the Levitical priesthood had to be replaced for theological reasons and explains in perfect detail that Christ's priesthood is superior:
11 Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? 12 For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also. 13 For the one concerning whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no one has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests. 15 And this is clearer still, if another priest arises according to the likeness of Melchizedek, 16 who has become such not on the basis of a law of physical requirement, but according to the power of an indestructible life. 17 For it is attested of Him, 'You are a priest forever, According to the order of Melchizedek.' 18 For, on the one hand, there is a setting aside of a former commandment because of its weakness and uselessness 19 (for the Law made nothing perfect), and on the other hand there is a bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God. 20 Inasmuch as it was not without an oath 21 (for they indeed became priests without an oath, but He with an oath through the One who said to Him, 'The Lord has sworn and will not change His mind, 'You are a priest forever''); 22 so much the more also Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. 23 The former priests, on the one hand, existed in greater numbers because they were prevented by death from continuing, 24 but Jesus, on the other hand, because He continues forever, holds His priesthood permanently. 25 Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. 28 For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
The Law was transitory, and it was abrogated at Christ's resurrection. Christ was a Priest, not after the order of Aaron, but after the order of Melchizedek. Since the priesthood was changed, 'of necessity there is also a change of the law' in connection with the priesthood. The Law, being 'holy and just and good' (Romans 7:12), demanded perfect righteousness - something that sinful men who functioned as priests could never provide. Therefore, mankind's hope for perfect standing before God had to be brought about outside the Aaronic priesthood and Mosaic Law. Thus Christ is the only one qualified to function as High Priest on behalf of sinners. Many Jewish people in the first century found it difficult to understand and accept the full reasons the Lord Jesus Christ had come to earth and to recognise that the Aaronic priesthood and Mosaic Law was no longer the centre of their faith. Many Jewish-Christians (and Gentile-Christians) still fail to recognise the true meaning of Jesus' words in Mark 2:21-22 when He was subtly pointing out that their new faith could not be poured into 'old wineskins' or used as a patch to strengthen the Old Testament Jewish beliefs.
Hence we read concerning the sacrifice of Christ: 'But now once at the end of the ages hath he been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself' (Hebrews 9:26); and again: 'We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once for all' (Hebrews 10:10).
The sacrifice of Christ is shown to be a 'once-for-all' sacrifice which only He could make, and which cannot be repeated because, by its very nature, it was final and complete. It was entirely a work carried out by God alone and by that one sacrifice the utmost demands of God's justice were fully and forever satisfied to bring full and final atonement to all who accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour! No further order of priests is needed to offer additional sacrifices or to perpetuate that one for His sacrifice on Calvary was the one sacrifice to end all sacrifices.
Papal Rome's so-called 'un-bloody repetition of the mass' through its man-made priesthood, which professes to offer the same sacrifice that Christ offered on Calvary, is in reality merely a sham and a recrudescence of Judaism within the Christian Church.
We are clearly told that after Christ had completed His work, He 'sat down' on the right hand of God, thus symbolizing that His work was finished, that nothing more needed to be added. In Hebrews 1:3 we read: 'who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification for sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high'; and in Hebrews 10:12-13: 'But he, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God, thenceforth expecting till his enemies be made the footstool of his feet.'
The magnificent completeness and finality of Christ's sacrificial work is seen in His royal rest because, in the tabernacle and the temple there were no seats or benches on which the priests could ever sit down or rest. Because their work was never done. Their sacrifices had to be repeated daily because there was no saving power in them. Therefore their task was endless. But the work of Christ was entirely different. His sacrifice of Himself was 'once for all.' By that one sacrifice He made perfect provision both for the sinner and for the sin. Therefore, as our High Priest, He sat down in the place of authority, and is now waiting until His enemies are brought into subjection and His kingdom is brought to fruition.
The very fact that the fake 'priests' of Papal Rome 'keep Jesus on the cross' by their repeated fake repetition of the Calvary sacrifice reveals the utter corruption and ignorance of your cult!
Tellingly, Christ sent out His apostles with the commandment to preach and teach - but He did not say one word about sacrifice. In the Great Commission He said: 'Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them . . . teaching them . . .' (Matthew 28:19, 20). Yet the most prominent feature of the Roman priesthood is its sacerdotal or sacrificial character. The mass is the very heart of the service. In the first part of the ordination service for a priest he is addressed as follows: 'Receive thou the power to offer sacrifices to God, and to celebrate masses, both for the living and for the dead. In the name of the Lord. Amen.'
A new order was inaugurated when Christ offered Himself as the perfect and final Sacrifice for sin. He fulfilled all the types and shadows mentioned here and made it possible for God to expiate sin. The day of correction came at the very moment that Christ died on the cross. When He cried, 'It is finished,' a strange sound filled the temple as the veil that separated the sanctuary from the holy of holies was torn in half, from top to bottom, opening the way for people to go directly to God through the blood of Christ for the forgiveness of sin. From that day forward, the Levitical system, along with its blood sacrifices, was set aside. God's own hand had removed the curtain and had opened the way into the holy of holies, symbolizing by that act that no longer did man have to approach Him through the mediation of a priest, but that the way of access to Him is now open to all.
The veil which had been torn by the hand of God was patched up again by Temple priests who refused to believe that their role was over and they continued to offer sacrifices in the temple for forty years - until the fall of Jerusalem, And then, from the time of Emperor Constantine, the priesthood of Papal Rome has again patched up the veil under a completely new and un-Biblical covenant. Through the use of spurious sacraments, the sacrifice of 'the mass', the confessional, indulgences, the murderous Inquisition and other such 'priestly' instruments, it continues to insist on keeping in place the curtain that God Himself has removed. It is not just that Papal Rome continues to place fallible human priests (many of them blatantly, vile paedophiles), the Virgin Mary, and dead saints as mediators between the sinner and God, despite the fact that the Bible declares clearly that:
'There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, Himself man, Christ Jesus' (1 Timothy. 2:5).
Trying to make Mary, the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ, a 'co-Mediatrix' (and all the variations in un-Biblical titles that Papal Rome has foisted on a wonderful servant of God) is cunningly allied with Rome's false priesthood, but all are absolutely un-Scriptural and un-Christian.
The hierarchical priesthood of Papal Rome has been a source of untold evil exemplified by the murderous groups, such as the Jesuits, and now recognised by the world-wide exposure of its paedophiles.
The apostle Peter, far from making himself a priest or a pope, was content to call himself one of the many elders, a presbuteros. And he specifically warned the elders against that most glaring error of the priests of Papal Rome, lording it over the charge allotted to them. He urged rather that they serve as examples to the flock:
'The elders (presbuteros) therefore among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder (sumpresbuteros - a co-presbyter; co-elder), and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Tend the flock of God which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according to the will of God; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as lording it over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples (Greek: tupos - a model for imitation) to the flock' And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. You younger men, likewise, be subject to your elders; and all of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, for GOD IS OPPOSED TO THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE.
(1 Peter 5:1-5).
The whole hierarchical institution of the priesthood of Papal Rome, which is falsely claimed to be a unique class of men endowed with special priestly powers to forgive sins and to transform the communion elements into the actual body and blood of Christ, is contrary to the spirit of 1 Peter 5:1-5. In these verses:
(1) no one is described as a priest or as having priestly powers except 'the Chief Shepherd' - the Lord Jesus Christ Himself;
(2) Peter describes himself as 'a fellow-elder' (v1);
(3) the leaders of the flock are called 'elders,' not priests;
(4) they are depicted as 'under-shepherds', not overlords of the church (v3); and
(5) they have no special binding power, but are to lead by 'example' ('ensamples') not by 'constraint' (v2-3).
The whole spirit of this passage is contrary to the priestly powers claimed by Papal Rome.
It is not just the clear Biblical doctrine of the universal priesthood of believers that Papal Rome has hidden in order to institute its false order of clergy, they have also created two classes of Christian every bit as fake as the two classes the cult of Jehovah's Witnesses invented - the '144,000' 'born again' 'Class 1' group of Jehovah's Witnesses who reign in heaven with 'YHWH', and the Class 2 group of Jehovah's Witnesses who remain on earth! Christians do not belong to a 'clergy priesthood' (Class 1) or remain 'laymen' (Class 2) who are mere spectators requiring special sacraments and ministrations from Class 1! The word 'layman' is not found in the New Testament, nor is there any 'layman's movement' in the Bible. The Biblical priesthood applies to all who accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour and promises immediate and continuous access to God in prayer for every believer (Hebrews 7:19) as well as the right and duty of intercession for others (Hebrews 7:25). This is the truth and reality of the doctrine of the universal royal priesthood of believers - chosen by God!
Thus a careful reading of Scripture shows clearly that, with the coming of Christ and the completion of His work on Calvary, the human priesthood of the Old Testament was abolished forever. Equally obvious is the fact that Scripture reveals the 'priesthood' of Papal Rome to be nothing but a sham and a delusion.
But how does Papal Rome present its fake priesthood? True believers know that their position in Christ gives them the great and glorious privilege of approaching God directly. Such an awesome opportunity is never to be taken lightly and it should produce humility, a continuous commitment to Christ, and a heart full of praise for what God has granted to us and cause us to surrender all, and give Him due adoration and worship.
By contrast, 'The Council of Trent', whose decrees must be accepted by all Papal Roman Catholics under pain of mortal sin or excommunication, declared:
'The priest is the man of God, the minister of God. . . . He that despiseth the priest despiseth God; he that hears him hears God. The priest remits sins as God, and that which he calls his body at the altar is adored as God by himself and by the congregation. . . . It is clear that their function is such that none greater can be conceived. Wherefore they are justly called not only angels, but also God, holding as they do among us the power and authority of the immortal God.'
We wonder by what 'wresting of Scripture' (2 Peter 3:15-16) Papal Rome can claim their fake priests are 'called not only angels, but also God' - it is obvious that they do not have the slightest idea of the real meaning of the Book to the Hebrews.
A similar account is found in another book, carrying Papal Rome's imprimatur (of the Archbishop of Ottawa, Canada):
'Without the priest the death and passion of our Lord would be of no avail to us. See the power of the priest! By one word from his lips he changes a piece of bread into a God! A greater fact than the creation of a world. 'If I were to meet a priest and an angel, I would salute the priest before saluting the angel. The priest holds the place of God.'
These are words of utter blasphemy and, as with all cults, a deluded claim to the power that belongs only to God.
Papal Rome has no Scriptural authority on which to base her doctrine of the priesthood and, as usual, strains to appeal to Matthew 16:18-19 and then builds an elaborate system which is actually contrary to Scripture - as proven above. We have also shown that the priests of Papal Rome are not described in any way in Scripture and the titles of 'archbishop,' 'cardinal' (aka 'prince of the church' - an embarrassing and blasphemous claim) and, of course, 'pope' are also not found in the Bible.
While we know that the apostle Paul ordained elders in the newly established churches and gave his assistants, Timothy and Titus, instructions for choosing and ordaining elders in every city (1 Timothy. 3:2-7; Titus 1:5) we find no mention of 'priests' in any church in the early centuries!
Since Papal Rome has made membership in their church the indispensable requirement for salvation, they have placed a screen between God and the people and pushed the Lord Jesus Christ into the background, behind the priest, behind the Virgin Mary, and behind the church. The inevitable result is that the spiritual life of Papal Roman Catholics is weak and barely familiar with Scripture so that every country which is in the grip of Rome, such as Spain, Italy, Southern Ireland, Quebec, and Latin America, are immersed in spiritual darkness and the people remain poor because of the monetary demands of the cult.
No matter what the moral character of a priest, his prayers and his ministrations were declared to be valid and efficacious because he is in holy orders, declared The Council of Trent with this typically bold lie:
'Even those priests who are living in mortal sin exercise the same function of forgiving sins as ministers of Christ'
Papal Rome had to come up with such a declaration because, in the middle of the sixteenth century, the immorality of the priests was well known to the 'lay people' - as Luther, and the other Reformers who had been 'priests' in Papal Rome, knew! If Papal Roman Catholics were not so ignorant of Scripture they would surely know how God viewed previous immorality of real priests in the Old Testament, e.g.:
Leviticus 10:1-2 - And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took each of them his censer, and put fire therein, and laid incense thereon, and offered strange fire before YHWH, which he had not commanded them. And there came forth fire from before YHWH, and devoured them, and they died before YHWH.
Likewise, Hophni and Phineas (1 Sam 2:34; 4:11-18), the sons of Eli, were punished as a family for their greed and immorality by the death of all three:
1 Samuel 2:29-30 - 'Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation, and honorest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people? Therefore YHWH, the God of Israel, saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now YHWH saith, Be it far from me; for them that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed'.
Ironically, after the sons died (1 Samuel 4:11-18: 'And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain') we read that a man of Benjamin out of the army came to Shiloh and told Eli 'thy two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God is taken ... it came to pass, when he made mention of the ark of God, that Eli fell from off his seat backward by the side of the gate; and his neck brake, and he died: for he was an old man, and heavy.'
Living off 'the chiefest of all the offerings' that should have been offered to God made Eli 'fat' and this played its part in his demise, although 'he had judged Israel forty years'.
There are many references in the Book of Acts to the founding, assembly and governing of ekklesiae, preaching the Word, and dealing with heretics. But there are absolutely no references whatsoever to a sacrificing priesthood. Paul gave extensive directions concerning the duties of the ministry throughout his epistles, but there is absolutely no mention of priests (hiereus), sacrificial offerings or 'the mass'! It is perfectly clear that the 'priesthood' of Papal Rome and their sacrifice of 'the mass' is a complete deception and has absolutely no Biblical support.
The Bible reveals clearly that Christ alone is our true High Priest, the only Mediator between God and men, the reality toward which the entire Old Testament ritual and sacrifice and priesthood looked forward, and that when He completed His work that entire system was finished. We should never forget how far Jesus final words - 'It is finished!' (John 19:30) - encompassed the passing of the Old Testament types and shadows and His complete finalization of free and full salvation for all who truly believe - just as the Epistle to the Hebrews reveals in perfect detail (as we have briefly elucidated above).
The intensive indoctrination used in Papal Rome's false priesthood was copied by Fascism, Nazism, and Communism in countries already severely weakened by the actions of Papal Rome. The training for their priesthood goes on, after the novitiate year, for six more years when the very young men are no longer permitted to visit their homes, even for vacations, unless a death occurs in their family! The student priest is taught to crush the 'desire of the flesh' by fasting, self-denial, and even physical pain. The ascetics and hermits of the early middle ages of Christianity, who mortified the flesh by wearing hair shirts, fastening chains about their waists, and sleeping on boards or in bare coffins, are now found to be mimicked in the senior seminaries for Franciscan priests around the world. Inside the door of every cell or bedroom a scourge or whip made of several strands of heavy cord knotted at the end is to be found and every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening the trainee closes the door of his cell and, to the chant of the 'miserere', he disrobes and 'scourges the flesh to bring it into submission.' Outside, their 'Superior' patrols the corridors to listen to the sound of whip on flesh to ensure compliance by the young student priest!
How does Papal Rome ensure that some men survive to be 'priests'? Every priest is taught during training that to leave the priesthood will result in him being cursed by God and rejected by the public who will sneer at him because he has violated his solemn promises and is therefore untrustworthy. Papal Rome is careful to warn these men who have left 'their calling' and finished up starving in the gutter until they are forced to crawl back and grovel before the hierarchy, sick, drunken, broken in spirit, begging to do penance so they can be re-instated. Some have to return because they are unable to find another vocation because the intense years of Papal training in Latin (which is hardly of use in the real world!) and learning to scourge their flesh makes them incapable of surviving outside of the Cult of Papal Rome. Even so, hundreds of 'priests' quit the church every year and many more would if they knew of those who left and proved capable of earning a living outside Papal Rome - despite the fears the cult tries to instil in them during indoctrination.
Unfortunately, the very few 'priests' who eventually realize that their 'priesthood' is a usurpation of the only priesthood of Christ - and that of the priesthood of believers - are too damaged by the life they have been conned into following, or even believe they are too old to start training for another career in life, and therefore they remain in Papal Rome. But a few have discovered at least some truth about the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel of Grace and manage to escape and join a genuine Bible-believing fellowship!
The claim of Papal Rome that the Old Testament priesthood is somehow 'translated' into a New Testament priesthood on the basis of Hebrews 7:12 ('For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law') fails to understand the clear argument of the inspired writer of Hebrews, for he proves that both the law and the Old Testament priesthood are done away with by Christ, our great High Priest. When he wrote that 'a former commandment is annulled' (v18) he shows that Christ did not translate Aaron's Old Testament priesthood into a new one for priests in the New Testament. This passage of Hebrews reveals that Christ, by perfectly fulfilling what the Old Testament priesthood prefigured (cf. 7:11, 18-19), did away with it and replaced it with his own high priestly office, after the order of Melchizedek, not after Aaron (7:17-28). He also clarifies the very important contrast between the repeated offerings of the Aaronic priests and the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ our high priest - and any careful reader will immediately recognise the massive contradictory problem for Papal Roman Catholics who believe that the priest offers up continually the (unbloody) sacrifice of the mass. Hebrews declares:
'Every priest stands daily at his ministry, offering frequently those same sacrifices that can never take away sins. But this one [Christ] offered one sacrifice for sins, and took his seat forever at the right hand of God ... For by one offering he has made perfect forever those who are being consecrated' (Hebrews 10:11-12, 14, emphasis added).
Papal Rome teaches that the mass is a sacrifice that is repeated over and over - which is exactly the opposite of what Hebrews emphatically states! Contrary to the claim of Papal Rome, Hebrews is only speaking of a once-for-all unbloody sacrifice, and they have no arguments that can overturn this truth.
While Papal Rome plays lip service to doctrine by seeming to acknowledge that 'the entire Christian family' is 'a kingdom of priests,' in practice it denies this truth that we have so easily shown from the New Testament Scriptures - that all believers, whether male or female, are priests! We have also proven that only one Sacrificial priest is necessary in the New Covenant, our Great High Priest the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Hebrews 7-8). The task left for the priesthood-believers (all true Christians!) is to minister the gospel (2 Corinthians 3-4).
Desperate appeals to the Old Testament are sometimes made by Papal Rome's 'apologists' to try and make an analogy using Exodus 19:5-7 (NASB):
5 'Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; 6 and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.' 7 So Moses came and called the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which the LORD had commanded him.
Therefore, they argue, since all Israelites were called priests, there must be a continuing priesthood. However, the Book of Hebrews makes it perfectly clear that the Aaronic priesthood God established as a special ministerial class was now done away with and every believer has direct access to the one high priest, Jesus Christ, who intercedes for all us!
Too many people who claim to be Christians forget that the truths we should believe in are never determined by how early in history un-inspired men, such as the 'Church Fathers', taught something (or how many of them taught it!) but whether the 'truth' is based on the infallible written Word of God.
There is no basis in the Bible for one of Papal Rome's favourite 'priestly' practices: sacramental penance. The Bible states that Christians should confess their sins to God (1 John 1:8-9, NASB):
8 If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
These verses clearly show that it is from Him alone that we receive forgiveness (cf. Mark 2:7-11, NASB):
7 'Why does this man speak that way? He is blaspheming; who can forgive sins but God alone?' 8 Immediately Jesus, aware in His spirit that they were reasoning that way within themselves, *said to them, 'Why are you reasoning about these things in your hearts? 9 'Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, 'Your sins are forgiven'; or to say, 'Get up, and pick up your pallet and walk'? 10 'But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins' - He *said to the paralytic, 11 'I say to you, get up, pick up your pallet and go home.'
Sins against others should be confessed to them as James exhorted (James 5:16, NASB):
16 Therefore, confess your sins to one another [not to a fake priest of Papal Rome!], and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.
There is absolutely no evidence in the New Testament that believers should confess their sins to any human priesthood (see explanations of the falseness of the Papal Rome 'priesthood' and the true Christian priesthood) in order to receive forgiveness.
We have already revealed the deception of a recent 'pope' on this page where we wrote:
In his book Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Pope John Paul II wrote:
The Church is the instrument of man's salvation. It both contains and continually draws upon the mystery of Christ's redemptive sacrifice. Through the shedding of His own blood, Jesus Christ constantly 'enters into God's sanctuary thus obtaining eternal redemption' (cf. Hebrews 9:12).
We examined this deception in detail and logically concluded:
'The pope renders the verse so that it appears that it supports the Mass but, in reality, the pope has changed the meaning of Scripture! We have already pointed out the seriousness of these acts by popes.'
Papal Rome cannot establish any of its un-Scriptural assertions regarding their false priesthood and has no way to explain the fact that the New Testament makes no distinction between a common and a hierarchical priesthood. They have no justification for their claim that priests in Papal Rome share in the priesthood of Melchizedek - as we have easily proven from Scripture. The priesthood of Melchizedek, as we have proven, is based upon the 'power of an indestructible life' (Hebrews 7:16) and we all know that the priests of Papal Rome grow old and die like all men do and so, obviously, they utterly fail to qualify. Incredibly, the supposed primary 'proof-text' for the ordained priesthood, 'Do this in remembrance of Me' (Luke 22:19), has absolutely nothing to say about ordination or the priesthood!
The desperate attempt by Papal Rome scholars in trying to argue that the New Testament office of elder and their priesthood are one and the same - which they have even smuggled into some of their 'translations' of the Bible - fails utterly, as these examples reveal:
And when they had ordained to them priests in every church ... they commended them to the Lord.... (Acts 14:22, Douay Rheims)
For this cause I left thee in Crete, that thou shouldest ... ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee (Titus 1:5, Douay Rheims)
Is any man sick among you? Let him bring in the priests of the church.... (James 5:14, Douay Rheims)
In every one of these verses the word translated 'priests' is the plural form of the Greek word presbuteros, meaning 'older man' or 'elder'. As we have already shown, Scripture teaches that the apostles 'appointed elders ... in every church' (Acts 14:23), and never, ever, priests. Titus was to 'appoint elders in every city' (Titus 1:5), not priests. And sick Christians were to 'call for the elders of the church' ( James 5:14), not the local priest. The New Testament word for priest is hiereus and it is not found in any of the three passages quoted above from the Catholic Douay Rheims Bible.
Every argument attempted by Papal Rome for their false priesthood and entire hierarchical structure is easily proven to be un-Biblical.
(Continued on page 328)