(Continued from page 351)
When does 'Adoration' become Idolatry?
Why did it take God nearly 2,000 years before He let His 'church' know Mary suffered with her Son to redeem us!
Papal Rome officially denies worshipping Mary, claiming that she says that Mary is only a creature, highly exalted, but still a creature, in no way equal to God. Yet she tells us that Mary hears the prayers of millions and that she constantly gives attention to her followers throughout the world. Where, in Scripture, are we told that Mary has been given the powers of God to achieve this? Nowhere! The intention and the practical working out of Papal Rome's system show clearly that it is worship of the creature and therefore idolatry as practiced by millions of people who kneel before Mary's statues and pray and sing to her. Certainly, most of these people know nothing at all of the 'technical' distinctions made by their theologians between adoration and worship, but it is indisputable that it is idolatrous to give her the attributes of omnipresence and omniscience and to give her titles and functions which belong to God, as when the late pope Pius XII officially designated her the "Queen of Heaven," and "Queen of the World," and when prayers are made to her for salvation.
That the prayers addressed to Mary and the saints are idolatrous is clear from the fact that: (1) They are precisely the same kind, and are expressed in the same terms, as those addressed to God; (2) They are presented in the ordinary course of worshipping God; (3) They are offered kneeling; And (4) they form the bulk of the prayers offered.
The most famous prayer addressed to Mary ('Ave Maria' - Hail Mary) commonly follows the Lord's prayer, and is offered in precisely the same way. Assuming that there are millions of "practicing" Roman Catholics throughout the world, and that half of them say the rosary at least once each day (the un-Scriptural 'rosary' contains 50 "Hail Marys" and takes quite some time to repeat) Mary would have to have the attributes of deity to hear and answer such a mass of prayer! Surely Papal Roman Catholics can see - even if they cannot admit - the impossibility of all those prayers being heard and answered by one who, by the admission of their own church, is not God - but only human. Papal Rome consistently presents deceit and illusions and the claim that the spirits of the departed have access to this world in the circumstances they insist on, has never been proven from Scripture which contains no such revelation.
Mariolatry has grown like the worship of the brazen serpent of Moses which, at the time of Hezekiah, had become an object of idolatrous worship and had to be destroyed. But, in Papal Rome, Mary has come to be looked upon as the instrumental cause of salvation and ascribed divine honours which cause hundreds of thousands of ignorant Papal Roman Catholics to write to the popes every year asking when she will become part of the god-head! Papal Rome even ascribes to her large numbers of miracles which are similar to those conferred on the false prophet of Islam, Muhammad, in that they try to resemble those performed by Christ so that the 'the ignorant and unstable' (2 Peter 3v16) will begin to believe in these false 'co-Redeemers' and false prophets (Matthew 7v15-23; Deuteronomy 18v20-22) instead of seeking to follow the true Messiah of Old Testament revelation (Isaiah 7:14; 9v6). Papal Rome claims numerous appearances for Mary and statues of her are said to have blinked or wept while abundant idolatrous relics have been displayed in Rome's cathedrals, including supposed samples of her clothing, hair, teeth - and even milk - have been exhibited!
Any honest Bible student will recognise that this false worship of Mary does a great injustice to a wonderful servant of God and actually makes her the occasion for breaking the commandments of God. Scripture makes it very clear that divine worship is to be paid to God alone:
"Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve" (Matthew 4:10)
God severely rebukes idolatry of every kind and form and we are sure that Mary is appalled at the site of Papal Roman Catholics bowing down before the images they have constructed in thousands of their churches and millions of their homes! Praying to Mary is never advocated in the Bible and is therefore an extremely dangerous idolatrous practice which almost certainly leads to many impersonations of Mary by demons. God will not answer false worship of a created being, no matter how perfect that servant proved to be when He called her to such a wonderful role in the birth of our Saviour God as the Son of Man - especially as He has made all the tests of such deception so clear throughout His Word. But Satan and his demons will answer such evil practices and God will allow it, as He has in so many places throughout history, in order for men to prove who love Him and who prefer to make up their own truth!
The Truth about Latria - Dulia - and Hyperdulia?
Papal Rome, without any support from Scripture, has chosen to divide worship into three kinds:
(1) Latria, the supreme worship, given to God alone;
(2) Dulia, a secondary kind of veneration given to saints and angels;
(3) Hyperdulia, a higher kind of veneration given to the Virgin Mary.
This theory is clearly useless in practice because the average Papal Roman Catholic is incapable of making such distinctions - even if he knows that such distinctions exist! Making such supposedly subtle definitions raises the obvious question - how can any human being really balance their feelings carefully so as to give God, the Virgin Mary, and the supposedly higher order of saints (again, a wholly un-Biblical concept!), their due proportion of 'worship'? Would the God of the Bible, who has clearly stated that He will not 'give His glory to another':
Isaiah 42v8 - I am the LORD, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise (Hebrew: tehillâh) to graven images.
When we pray to God we give Him praise (tehillâh means 'laudation' - a hymn, praise!) and many Papal Roman Catholics will be utterly oblivious to what they are supposedly giving to creatures (whether dead or alive), and particularly in countries, such as Italy, Spain, and Latin America, where so many of the people are illiterate and also given to all kinds of superstitions. Careful reading of Scripture reveals that any religious worship, whether inward or outward, consisting of prayer, or praise, and expressed by outward homage such as bowing, kneeling, or prostration, is properly termed worship and belongs to God alone. Examination of the times in which the translation of words (in Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek) results in a clear conclusion that 'worship' is the most emphatically appropriate translation into English will always find not one single instance where 'worship' - or 'dulia' or 'hyperdulia' - are ever applied to the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ!
All of the sleight of hand fake theology of the Papal Roman Catholic cult, which includes the slogan, "Through Mary to Christ," does not change the fact that Mary is never worshipped in the Bible! Yet, because of papal deception, many worshippers in Papal Rome clearly complete their devotion with Mary and pray exclusively to Mary and not to the Lord Jesus Christ. In contrast, we find the clear instruction from Jesus in the passage (John 14:9-19) where He makes His deity crystal clear to all but the blindest of the blind ('he that hath seen Me hath seen the Father'):
'...whatsoever ye shall ask in My name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in My name, that will I do. If ye love Me, ye will keep My commandments'
If Jesus was ever going to position His mother as 'co-Mediatrix' (or any of the alternative titles invented by Papal Rome) He would surely have instructed His disciples here but, rather, he makes the unique position of the Holy Spirit perfectly clear:
'...I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may be with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth: whom the world cannot receive; for it beholdeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: ye know Him; for He abideth with you, and shall be in you...'.
Papal Rome encourages followers to invoke the spirits of the dead - which is condemned in Scripture!
Instead, Papal Rome has taught that all grace necessarily flows through Mary and have consequently caused her to be regarded as a 'fourth person' of the Blessed Trinity. To speak of Mary as "holy," as "the Mother of God," and as "co-redeemer with Christ," inevitably creates the impression that she is more than human. Thus, when Pope Benedict XV (1914-1922) invented the un-Biblical idea that Mary suffered with her suffering and dying Son, and that with Him she has redeemed the human race (a pronouncement that was also sanctioned by pope Pius XI in 1923), the intelligent Bible scholar asked why it would take the Holy Spirit nearly 2,000 years before He passed this knowledge onto His supposed apostolic succession when there is a complete absence of any such idea in the Bible!
Papal Rome clearly invented the 'latria, dulia, and hyperdulia' system to enable her to maintain officially that she does not really teach the "worship" of Mary, while drawing into the Roman church those pagans with a 'mother-god/goddess' devotion already forming a strong part of their belief system. But the lengths to which 'apologists' of Papal Rome have gone in trying to distinguish between such devotions and actual worship is evidence that she either feels uncomfortable about the un-Biblical names given to Mary and the actual creature worship that has resulted, or is well aware of the other obvious result: they have insulted the God of Grace by bringing about the inevitable comparison with the 'trinities' (in the Egypt, Greece, India, Babylon, Sumeria etc.) of the pagans. Atheists, agnostics and cults (such as the Jehovah's Witnesses) jump at the imagined opportunity to attack Biblical Christianity because they fail to recognise the difference between One God in Three Persons (the Biblical 'Tri-une God') and the three gods of various characteristics of the Satanic pagan systems. Their failure to recognise how Satan began to pollute man's idea of the One True God as soon as he was cast out of heaven, leaves them stumbling around in confusion of their own making and, like the popes of Rome, the Sovereign God will withdraw His Light and Grace so that they remain in the darkness they chose to believe in. Thus it is that some theologians of Papal Rome do acknowledge that they worship Mary.
Further obvious evidence to examine is the very fact of the attitude of the Lord Jesus Christ towards His mother (ref. Matthew 12:46-50; Luke 2:48-49; Luke 11:27, 28; John 2:1-5; John 7:5 etc.). As the Son of God and the Redeemer of men, His relation to Mary was identically the same as with any others who would hear His Word, and do it. Every time mistaken ideas were expressed, Jesus gave plain and decisive answers which settle forever the question regarding any superiority over other creatures of Mary, never-mind the promotion of any Mary cult. He utterly rejected the idea that Mary occupies a position of holiness above that of other women, or that she was to be crowned the "Queen of Heaven" and become the object of worship. After the ascension of Christ she is seen with the apostles and several other women in Jerusalem (Acts 1:14), but no special honour or position is recorded as having been given to her. She was not, in herself, more than any other virtuous woman, except that she was especially chosen to be the mother of Jesus, and to be the kind and loving parent which she was to the most wonderful Child that ever grew up in a home.
We notice further that throughout our Lord's public life He was always careful to call Mary "woman," never "mother" - even when He was dying on the cross! Greek, Hebrew, and Latin all have a word for "mother," as well as for "woman", but we always read in Scripture that the Lord Jesus Christ said "woman" - not "mother." Also, He never used the term "Lady," when addressing His mother, but Papal Rome has emphasised this title in a totally unwarranted and un-Biblical manner!
Jesus always addressed His mother respectfully, but He also made it clear that neither she nor anyone else had any part in the work of salvation. Scripture makes it clear that the Saviour's Sacrifice at Calvary was a Sovereign Work of our Holy God and no feeble human assistance was required or permitted - other than man's demonstration of his sinful nature that caused Jesus to be delivered to the cross - as God had always designed.
When Jesus completed His home life as the perfect Son of Man at Nazareth to begin His public ministry a new relationship was established with mankind as His supernatural parentage was emphasized as the only begotten Son of the Father in heaven. His holy ministry notably rebuked the mistaken tendency which seeks to exalt the human relationship at the expense of the divine, the physical at the expense of the spiritual.
It is important that Biblical Christians honour Mary, the mother of our Lord, with the honour the Scriptures give her as "blessed among women." No other member of the human race has received such high honour as was conferred upon Mary in that she was chosen to be the mother of the Saviour of the world and was truly a woman of extraordinary faith and virtue who admirably completed the office assigned to her as the chosen vessel to bring the Bread of Life to a sin-cursed world. But there is no Biblical evidence that Mary played any other part in our salvation for only Jesus, the Son of God, is called our Saviour and the Father and Holy Spirit share in this - as Scripture makes clear.
The Last Supper was most probably a Passover meal which commemorated the deliverance of the Israelites from Egypt many centuries before. There was unleavened bread and red wine on the table, as well as food of other kinds and, in the explanatory narrative which preceded the meal, the bread was said to be "the bread of affliction which our fathers ate when they left Egypt" (cf. Deuteronomy. 16:3). A literal-minded person might say that the bread on the table was not the bread which the 'Exodus generation' ate, for that bread was no longer available. But to the faith of the eaters it was the same bread and they were encouraged to identify themselves with that generation for, "in each generation it is a duty to regard oneself as though one had oneself been brought up out of Egypt." At the outset of the meal the head of the family, having broken bread, gave thanks for it in time-honoured language: "Blessed art thou, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who bringest forth bread from the earth."
But at the Last Supper Jesus, as head of his "family," having given thanks for the bread, added words which gave the bread a new significance: "Take it," he said to the disciples, "this is my body." The Pauline version (1 Corinthians 11) continues: ". . . which is for you; do this as my memorial." The Passover meal was a memorial of the great deliverance at the time of the Exodus, but now a new memorial was being instituted in view of a New and Greater Deliverance about to be accomplished.
At the end of the Passover meal, when the closing blessing (or "grace after meat") had been said, a cup of wine was shared by the family. This cup, called the "cup of blessing," was the third of four cups which stood on the table and, when Jesus had said the blessing and given this cup to His companions without drinking from it Himself, He said to them: "This is my covenant blood, which is poured out for many" (the Pauline version states: "This is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you; do this as my memorial, every time you drink it").
At the foot of Mount Sinai Moses read the law of God to the Israelites who had come out of Egypt and, after they had undertaken to keep it, the blood of sacrificed animals was sprinkled partly on the altar (representing the presence of God) and partly on the people, and Moses spoke of it as "the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you in accordance with all these words" (Exodus 24:8). Jesus' disciples had the Passover and Exodus narratives vividly in their minds when they heard His words and they recognised that a New Covenant was being instituted in place of that into which their ancestors were brought in Moses' day - and it was to be instituted by Jesus' death for his people. Thus they recognised that, when they take the memorial bread, they participate by faith in the life of Him who died and rose again and by taking the cup they declare and appropriate by faith their "interest in the Saviour's blood." In doing so, they enter by experience into the meaning of His words of institution and know that through Him they are members of God's covenant community.
But there is no mention of Mary's involvement in the New Covenant 'in the Saviour's blood' and it is clear that she had fully fulfilled her part in God's plan as the mother of the Son of Man and Son of God. After the Fall of Man, God's words to Satan (Genesis 3v15) are called the protevangelium, "the first Gospel," because this is the first announcement of the coming Redeemer found in the Bible:
'And I will put enmity between you and the woman and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head and you shall bruise him on the heel.'
To God's Old Covenant people, this verse was a beacon of hope (Galatians 4:1-4), to Satan it was God's declaration of war, climaxing in his condemnation (Romans 16:20), but to Eve it was the assurance that she was forgiven and that God would use a woman to bring the Redeemer into the world (1 Timothy 2:13-15).
While Papal Rome claims that they honour Mary appropriately, Scripture itself makes it clear that Mariolatry results and they do Mary a grave injustice by making false claims about her role in our salvation. Peter, allegedly Papal Rome's first pope, did not even mention her in any of his sermons or in his two letters and made it clear that Christ is the only Saviour from sin. But he never presented Mary as a co-Mediator, robbing the Father and Son of glory, or tried to add her work or that of any other 'saint' to that of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary to create a counterfeit 'gospel' and counterfeit 'salvation'. Every careful Bible student knows that there is no record in Scripture of anyone ever calling on Mary for salvation.
Another of Rome's dreadful errors is found in the false interpretation of the words of Jesus from the cross, when He said to John, "Behold, thy mother." Claiming that these words were addressed to all men, present and future, and that He was committing all men to Mary as her sons is palpably false. The New Testament account makes it unmistakably clear that the Lord Jesus proved to be the Perfect Son of Man and Son of God and, even as He suffered an agonising death, committed His mother to John's care for the remainder of her natural life (John 19:26-27):
"When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by whom He loved, He saith to His mother, 'Woman, behold, thy son'! Then saith He to the disciple, Behold, thy mother! And from that hour the disciple took her unto his own home".
The clear, natural meaning of those words is obvious: they were addressed to Mary and to John as individuals, instructing Mary to look upon the beloved disciple John as her son, and instructing him to take the place of Jesus and to assume the duties of a son and care for Mary in his own home from that time until her life ended.
Thus true Christians honour Mary - but do not deify her, worship her, or pray to her and, instead, warn those who usurp Christ and present 'another Jesus' (2 Corinthians 11v4) in which Mary is elevated to share the place that belongs to Jesus alone. We worship with her the Son of God, but we do not worship her, nor worship through her, as if she were a 'mediator'. It is important that all understand the difference between the matter of honouring Mary, and the grossly un-Scriptural practice of worshipping her, for we are constantly reminded of the words of Jesus:
"Whosoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, he is my brother, and sister, and mother" (Matthew 12:50).
The Mary we honour is not a weeping stone statue, a half-goddess, or the "Queen of Heaven" (a claim already refuted on our pages), but the humble servant of God, who found favour with Him and became the mother of Jesus.
Returning to the writing of Thigpen we note that, when he states: 'When we praise the craftsmanship, all the accolades go to the Craftsman' he is being disingenuous, for Isaiah 44:8-20 informs us:
'Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have I not declared unto thee of old, and showed it? and ye are my witnesses. Is there a God besides me? yea, there is no Rock; I know not any. They that fashion a graven image are all of them vanity; and the things that they delight in shall not profit; and their own witnesses see not, nor know: that they may be put to shame. Who hath fashioned a god, or molten an image that is profitable for nothing? Behold, all his fellows shall be put to shame; and the workmen, they are of men: let them all be gathered together, let them stand up; they shall fear, they shall be put to shame together. The smith maketh an axe, and worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with his strong arm: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth; he drinketh no water, and is faint. The carpenter stretcheth out a line; he marketh it out with a pencil; he shapeth it with planes, and he marketh it out with the compasses, and shapeth it after the figure of a man, according to the beauty of a man, to dwell in a house. He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the holm-tree and the oak, and strengtheneth for himself one among the trees of the forest: he planteth a fir-tree, and the rain doth nourish it. Then shall it be for a man to burn; and he taketh thereof, and warmeth himself; yea, he kindleth it, and baketh bread: yea, he maketh a god, and worshippeth it; he maketh it a graven image, and falleth down thereto. He burneth part thereof in the fire; with part thereof he eateth flesh; he roasteth roast, and is satisfied; yea, he warmeth himself, and saith, Aha, I am warm, I have seen the fire. And the residue thereof he maketh a god, even his graven image; he falleth down unto it and worshippeth, and prayeth unto it, and saith, Deliver me; for thou art my god. They know not, neither do they consider: for he hath shut their eyes, that they cannot see; and their hearts, that they cannot understand. And none calleth to mind, neither is there knowledge nor understanding to say, I have burned part of it in the fire; yea, also I have baked bread upon the coals thereof; I have roasted flesh and eaten it: and shall I make the residue thereof an abomination? shall I fall down to the stock of a tree? He feedeth on ashes; a deceived heart hath turned him aside; and he cannot deliver his soul, nor say, Is there not a lie in my right hand?
Mis-use of a tree in carving part of it into a 'graven image' - a false god - does not excuse the craftsmanship in the slightest nor give glory to God who created the man who has fallen into such sin.
When Paul and Barnabas were preaching the gospel at Lystra, we read:
Acts 14:8-18 - And at Lystra there sat a certain man, impotent in his feet, a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked. The same heard Paul speaking, who, fastening eyes upon him, and seeing that he had faith to be made whole, said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped up and walked. And when the multitude saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voice, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercury, because he was the chief speaker. And the priest of Jupiter whose temple was before the city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the multitudes. But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they rent their garments, and sprang forth among the multitude, crying out and saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and bring you good tidings, that ye should turn from these vain things unto a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that in them is: who in the generations gone by suffered all the nations to walk in their own ways. And yet He left not himself without witness, in that he did good and gave you from heaven rains and fruitful seasons, filling your hearts with food and gladness. And with these sayings scarce restrained they the multitudes from doing sacrifice unto them.
True servants of the Living God did everything they could to prevent these ignorant heathens from venerating them and even calling them 'gods' (designating them after pagan gods, Jupiter and Mercury!) and downplayed everything about themselves ('they rent their garments, and sprang forth among the multitude, crying out and saying, 'Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you'').
But the popes of Papal Rome allow their feet and hands to be kissed by the ignorant followers and venerate supposed 'saints', such as 'Saint Theresa' who allowed poor Hindus to go to a godless eternity rather than persuade them to follow the Biblical Christ, while she had a heart operation to ensure her days on earth were prolonged as far as possible (indeed, her whole history speaks of her terrible fear of dying and utter lack of faith in the true gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ).
Thigpen writes: '"Imitation is the sincerest form of praise." And so the Church urges us to imitate the saints, to follow their example of holiness. In the end, that's the best way to honor them.'
TCE: It is true that Scripture instructs us to imitate the apostles:
2 Thessalonians 3:6-9 - Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which they received of us. For yourselves know how ye ought to imitate us: for we behaved not ourselves disorderly among you; neither did we eat bread for nought at any man's hand, but in labor and travail, working night and day, that we might not burden any of you: not because we have not the right, but to make ourselves and ensample unto you, that ye should imitate us.
Hebrews 13:7 Remember them that had the rule over you, men that spake unto you the word of God; and considering the issue of their life, imitate their faith.
3 John 11 Beloved, imitate not that which is evil, but that which is good. He that doeth good is of God: he that doeth evil hath not seen God.
But we certainly don't 'praise' them in the way we praise God and, regarding honour, you find the apostles seeking 'honour' in a very different manner:
Romans 12:9-11 - Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. In love of the brethren be tenderly affectioned one to another; in honour preferring one another; in diligence not slothful; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
The apostles put the Lord Jesus Christ above everything and you do not find them seeking 'praise' from fellow believers or kissing anyone's hand or foot, whether a 'leader' or not!
But there is certainly One, who is both Son of Man and fully God, who deserves such kisses - as demonstrated in 'The Parable of Two Debtors':
Luke 7:40-50 (NASB) - 40 And Jesus answered him, "Simon, I have something to say to you." And he replied, "Say it, Teacher." 41 "A moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 "When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. So which of them will love him more?" 43 Simon answered and said, "I suppose the one whom he forgave more." And He said to him, "You have judged correctly." 44 Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 "You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 "You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." 48 Then He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven." 49 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?" 50 And He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
And the only kissing you find among faithful believers in the New Testament is found in these examples:
Romans 16:16 (ASV) - Salute one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ salute you.
1 Corinthians 16:20 (ASV) - All the brethren salute you. Salute one another with a holy kiss.
2 Corinthians 13:12 (ASV) - Salute one another with a holy kiss.
1 Thessalonians 5:26 (ASV) - Salute all the brethren with a holy kiss.
1 Peter 5:14 (ASV) - Salute one another with a kiss of love. Peace be unto you all that are in Christ.
The word translated 'salute' is the Greek: άσπάζομαι - aspázomai - pronounced: as-pad'-zom-ahee - to enfold in the arms, i.e. (by implication) to salute, (figuratively) to welcome, embrace, greet, salute, take leave - and 'kiss' is the Greek: φίλημα - phílēma, pronounced: fil'-ay-mah - a kiss. So the meaning is unequivocal!
There is no "treasury of merit" earned by works and prayers of Jesus Christ, His mother Mary, and the saints of all ages!
TCE: Clearly, the practice that Papal Rome has invented, where the living are encouraged to invoke the spirits of the dead, has more in common with spiritism and divination, both condemned in Scripture, than with any Christian practice (Deuteronomy 18:10-11).
It is also clear that Papal Rome clearly denies justification by grace alone and the sole Mediatorship of Christ by its false doctrine of 'the saints'.
The Lord Jesus Christ is the Head of the Church, as undeniably proven by the Scriptures you quoted, such as:
Ephesians 4:4-5 - There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism ...
What is the truth about a "partial indulgence" and a "plenary indulgence"?
But the real reason for Papal Rome's emphasis on this false doctrine of 'communion of the saints' is linked to other errors, such as 'The Doctrine of Indulgences' (as we pointed out in 2005 - ref. Scott Arrigoni - 28 (for other references see Menu or 'Click Here to Search This Site' on our Home Page). Papal Rome claims that the Church is the steward of a vast reservoir of merit called the "treasury of the Church" or "treasury of merit" which was allegedly earned by the works and prayers of Jesus Christ, His mother Mary, and the saints of all ages. This treasury of merit is supposedly so vast that it can never be exhausted or depleted and Papal Rome claims that the Church has the power to dispense, from this reservoir, "indulgences," which are said to cancel the debt of temporal punishment. Mary, and the Catholic saints, have supposedly added 'their merits' to those of the ineffable Lord Jesus Christ and to have provided "super-abundant satisfactions" to God so that Papal Rome believes it can offer these same merits to Catholic believers in exchange for remission of punishment!
More on Papal Rome's false teaching of 'Purgatory'!
Thus Catholics speak of both a "partial indulgence" and a "plenary indulgence" - a partial indulgence being one that takes away just a portion of a person's temporal punishment while a plenary indulgence cancels all the temporal punishment a person has accumulated. The more temporal punishment remitted through indulgences in this life, the less time someone will have to spend in purgatory. Understandably, the partial indulgence requires fewer acts of piety than a plenary indulgence.
Note: we have already dealt with the nonsense of 'indulgences' (see earlier references on this page).
Once an indulgence has been 'earned' it can be applied either personally (thereby reducing personal temporal punishment for sins committed) or can be applied by prayer to the account of a dead loved one believed to be in purgatory. So indulgences supposedly benefit both oneself and one's dead loved ones.
When we read the acts that a person must do for an indulgence it staggers the Bible student, for there is not a trace of the Word of God in them but clear indications of Eastern, occultic religions! One of the most common is merely doing the sign of the cross (which grants an indulgence of three years less time in purgatory); reciting the rosary in a family group can grant a partial indulgence of ten years; visiting a Catholic shrine can also grant an indulgence. Imagine going to a shrine inhabited by demons to claim a 'get out of purgatory earlier' card (sorry - indulgence)!
To gain a plenary indulgence, three conditions must be met in addition to performing the specific requirements of that particular indulgence: sacramental confession, Eucharistic communion, and prayer for the pope (as well as, of course, abstaining from wilful sin). When a person performs the specific requirements for an indulgence, Papal Rome then has the (supposed) power to grant that indulgence based on the merits of Christ and the (un-Biblical!) 'earned merits of Mary and Catholic saints'.
How Papal Rome's false doctrines insult the FREE Gift of God - the Gospel of Pure Grace!
Regarding the doctrine of purgatory and the many undoubtedly good-hearted Catholics of Rome who do all the things required by their church as far as they are able:
they regularly attend Mass, work hard to maintain sanctifying grace in their soul by being faithful, confess their sins to a priest when they do wrong, are always careful to participate in the sacrament of penance after committing what they think may be a mortal sin (although the line of demarcation between mortal sins and venial sins is not always a clear one in Catholic theology). They try and do all that Papal Rome decrees - and more - in keeping with the instructions of Papal Rome. When they die, they doubtlessly expect to go to purgatory before being granted entrance into heaven - if they truly believe they have been 'good' enough to go to heaven (and we have already shown that two recent popes were fearful of death - which proves they either did not know the genuine Gospel of salvation by grace, or were lacking in faith; or they recognised that they were false 'Peters' preaching false doctrine!). Imagine attending over a thousand Masses in a lifetime and yet feeling sure that they are still not fully purified from sin because of the thoughts and actions they still carry out. This is not only in massive contrast to the "good news" of the gospel (Ephesians 2:8-9), but to the 'good news' the Lord Jesus Christ gave 'the thief on the cross' (Luke 23v39-43):
'And he said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise. (ASV)
Some Papal Roman Catholics have tried to say we mis-represent indulgences, or they try to minimize or play down the use of indulgences in modern Rome. However, the modern teaching on indulgences has been stated and clarified in three documents, dating from 1967 (Indulgentiarum doctrina, of Paul VI), 1968 (The new Enchiridion of Indulgences, issued by the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary), and 1983 (the new Code of Canon Law of the Roman Catholic Church).
Papal Rome's history is riddled with alleged spirits of deceased 'saints' appearing to warn of the torments of purgatory!
By contrast, the apostle Paul was inspired to give us this "good news":
"For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast" (Ephesians 2:8-9)
Have you ever insisted on paying friends or relatives for a gift they bought you? Of course not! Can you imagine trying to pay the Lord Jesus Christ for His amazing gift of free and full salvation bought by His death on the cross at Calvary. And yet Papal Rome has invented a system of works where the ignorant devotees of the popes believes they have to pay the sufficient price to even get out of (un-Biblical) purgatory. When we read Acts 8:9-24 we are reminded of a similar offer to pay for a free gift from God - and the condemnation delivered by Peter the apostle:
'But there was a certain man, Simon by name, who beforetime in the city used sorcery, and amazed the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is that power of God which is called Great. And they gave heed to him, because that of long time he had amazed them with his sorceries. But when they believed Philip preaching good tidings concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. And Simon also himself believed: and being baptized, he continued with Philip; and beholding signs and great miracles wrought, he was amazed. Now when the apostles that were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Spirit: for as yet it was fallen upon none of them: only they had been baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus. Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. Now when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay my hands, he may receive the Holy Spirit. But Peter said unto him, Thy silver perish with thee, because thou hast thought to obtain the gift of God with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray the Lord, if perhaps the thought of thy heart shall be forgiven thee. For I see that thou art in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity. And Simon answered and said, Pray ye for me to the Lord, that none of the things which ye have spoken come upon me.
The doctrine of purgatory is an outgrowth of the corrupt and therefore seriously damaged Papal Roman Catholic view of justification. Since the Bible makes it totally clear that only perfectly righteous people get into heaven, and since in the Papal view of justification someone is not absolutely and once for all declared righteous by God because they accepted the Perfect Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ at Calvary, then somehow a person must become perfectly righteous before entrance into heaven is granted.
This is one of the most obvious clues that Papal Rome is run by Satan! Why? Because if the sacrifice of the Lamb of God cannot get you directly into heaven, how on earth do you think the 'additional good works' of the very human being Mary and 'the saints' is going to enable you to get out of purgatory - and ever get you into heaven? Contrary to Rome's false view, the Biblical view of justification involves a singular and instantaneous event in which God declares the believing sinner to be righteous.
From a Scriptural perspective, when Jesus died on the cross and cried, "It is finished" (John 19:30) He completed the work of redemption at the cross. No purgatory is needed for those who trust in Christ. In His high priestly prayer to the Father, Jesus said, "I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do" (John 17:4). How on earth do Papal Roman Catholics miss the clear truth of Scripture:
1 John 1:7 - '... but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
Romans 8:1 - "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus"
Again we find the clear evidence that Papal Rome is a work of Satan - for no one else but the most evil creature in existence would ever want to hide such a wonderful truth from earth's people. We are cleansed not by some alleged fire of purgatory but by the blood of Jesus Christ:
Hebrews 9:14 - how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?
Jesus "Himself is the propitiation (Greek: hilasmós, atonement, an expiator) for our sins" (1 John 2:2). It is through Jesus' work on the cross alone that we are made righteous:
2 Corinthians 5:21 - Him who knew no sin He made to be sin on our behalf; that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
The apostle Paul spoke of his life as "not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith" (Philippians 3:7-9).
It is through this wonderful work of Christ on the cross that believers are "blameless," and hence are in no need of some alleged purgatory (Jude 1:24; cf. Ephesians 1:4):
Hebrews 10:14 - "For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified"
In other words, no further purging is necessary because Christ has perfected "for all time" those who have believed in Him. That which is already perfect "for all time" needs no further purging. Clearly there is no need for purgatory (if such a place even existed - which it doesn't!) for those who have truly trusted in Christ as Saviour.
Just as Jesus' words to 'the thief on the cross' (Luke 23v39-43) made clear that Paradise is instant for believers, it is thoroughly backed up by Scripture that, at the moment of death, believers go directly into the presence of God. The apostle Paul wrote: "I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better" (Philippians 1:23). Paul is saying that the very moment after physical death occurs, he will be with Christ. How do we know this? Because the Greek text makes it perfectly clear when an aorist infinitive ("to depart") is linked by a single article with a present infinitive ("to be with Christ"). The single article ties the two infinitives together, so that the actions depicted by the two infinitives are to be considered two aspects of the same thing, or two sides of the same coin. So Paul writes that the very moment after he departs the body or dies, he will be with Christ in heaven. Further, for believers "to be absent from the body" is to be "at home with the Lord" as 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 makes clear:
Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are at home in the body we are absent from the Lord - for we walk by faith, not by sight - we are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the body and to be at home with the Lord.
The Greek of this passage reveals that the phrases "at home in the body" and "absent from the Lord" in the first part of the passage are present tenses (which indicate continuing action). Hence, we might paraphrase it: "Therefore, being always of good courage, and knowing that while we are continuing to be at home in the body we are continuing to be absent from the Lord."
By contrast, the latter part of the passage contains two aorist infinitives: "absent from the body" and "at home with the Lord." Such aorists indicate a sense of "once for all" so that the verse might be paraphrased: "We are of good courage, I say, and prefer rather to be absent from the [mortal, perishable] body and to be once for all at home with the Lord."
Whereas the present tenses in verse 6 picture a continuing at-homeness in the body and a continuing away-from homeness as to the Lord, the aorist infinitives of verse 8 point to a once-for-all momentary happening - death! - an immediate transition from being at home in the body to being away from home as to the body.
So, the moment a Christian dies, he or she is immediately in the presence of Christ. There is no purgatory!
It is also noteworthy that the Greek word pros, used for 'with' (in the phrase "be at home with the Lord"), suggests very close (face-to-face, as it were) fellowship, being a word used of intimate relationships. Therefore Paul is telling us that the fellowship he expects to have with Christ immediately following his physical death will be one of great intimacy - clearly there is no purgatory for believers who die for, the instant they die, they are all ushered directly into the presence of Christ!
Mary's 'bodily assumption to heaven' was only 'officially' declared by Rome in 1950!
Throughout the history of Papal Rome there have been widespread apparitions from the alleged dead and The Dogma of Purgatory, containing both Catholic seals of approval (the nihil obstat and imprimatur) which supposedly signify a book "free of doctrinal or moral error", contains many accounts of alleged spirits of deceased Catholics appearing to the faithful and warning them of the torments of purgatory. Careful reading of Scripture reveals only a few specific examples of God allowing 'important' men of faith to contact living believers and we will return to this point later.
The greater bonding to Papal Rome's false beliefs and practices that follows as a result of listening to apparitions (demons!) impersonating the dead is nothing more than the effects of spiritism which are condemned by God as a heinous sin:
Deuteronomy 18:10-12 - There shall not be found with thee any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, one that useth divination, one that practiseth augury, or an enchanter, or a sorcerer, or a charmer, or a consulter with a familiar spirit, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For whosoever doeth these things is an abomination unto YHWH: and because of these abominations YHWH thy God doth drive them out from before thee.
You write: The bible directs us to invoke those in heaven and ask them to pray with us. King David invokes all the angles [sic] of heaven! Thus in Psalm 102:20-21 we pray, "Bless the Lord, O you His angels, you mighty ones who do His word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all His hosts, his ministers that do His will!" In the protestant apocrypha, this passage appears as Psalm 103:20-21!!!!!!Address this- you probably can't!
TCE: This Psalm - and the Bible - certainly never 'directs us to invoke those in heaven and ask them to pray with us' in the way you suggest! We read:
Psalm 103:20-21 - Bless YHWH, ye his angels, That are mighty in strength, that fulfil his word, Hearkening unto the voice of his word. Bless YHWH, all ye his hosts, Ye ministers of his, that do his pleasure.
Both the poetic nature of the psalms of the Bible and the context of this passage indicate that the psalmist is merely using a literary device to appeal to all of creation to praise God - so any suggestion that this God-exalting text proves that angels or dead saints should be the object, or in any way the intercessors, of our prayers is totally foreign to the meaning of this passage. The Psalm is clearly praising 'YHWH' and these verses merely point out that angels are to 'bless ... fulfil ... hearken .. and do His pleasure'! You have merely tried to force your meaning onto the Psalm!
Your online Bible at:
Psa 103v20 Bless Yahweh, all his angels, mighty warriors who fulfil his commands, attentive to the sound of his words. 21 Bless Yahweh, all his armies, servants who fulfil his wishes. 22 Bless Yahweh, all his works, in every place where he rules. Bless Yahweh, my soul.
So this group of Papal Roman Catholics has a Bible similar to the KJV and ASV (Psalm 103 occurs in the same place in all the Bible versions!) and you pointlessly invent a 'protestant apocrypha' where none exists - address that!
Hearkening (attentive) in these translations is the Hebrew: shâma - to hear intelligently (often with implication of attention, obedience, etc.; causatively, to tell, etc.; attentively, call (gather) together, declare, discern, give ear, (cause to, let, make to), listen, make (a) noise, publish, report, tell, understand, hear, witness.
So, again, you utterly fail to make the point you set out to make!
You write: Not only do those in heaven pray with us, they also pray for us. In the book of the Apocalypse 8:3-4, we read: "And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God. And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel."
TCE: Again, you attempt to force your words into the verses - nowhere do these verses say that only a 'communion of saints' in heaven offer their prayers. These are the prayers of ALL saints!
You write: The Mother of God is not dead but alive. She ascended into heaven body and soul.
TCE: Mary is the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ who was fully man and fully God and Scripture explains:
Philippians 2:5-11 - Have this mind in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: who, existing in the form of God, counted not the being on an equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, becoming obedient even unto death, yea, the death of the cross. Wherefore also God highly exalted him, and gave unto him the name which is above every name; that in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things on earth and things under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The ploy of Papal Rome is to use 'Mother of God' to implant the idea of 'goddess' into the minds of the ignorant while the truth is that Mary was a sinner like the rest of mankind and she rejoiced in God her Saviour - and only sinners need a Saviour!:
Luke 1:46-49 - And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath looked upon the low estate of his handmaid: For behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; And holy is his name.
Your claim that Mary 'ascended into heaven body and soul' has already been refuted on this page
You write: God is the God of the living not the dead.
TCE: In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we have an account of a discussion Jesus had with a group of Sadducees who did not believe in a resurrection of the dead (Matthew 22:23, Mark 12:18, Luke 20:27). They posed a question to Jesus about a widow who marries seven brothers in sequence as each one dies. The Sadducees thought they had trapped Jesus because they assumed that, after any alleged resurrection, the woman would be guilty of bigamy by having seven husbands. But Jesus easily escaped their puerile trap by answering:
Matthew 22:28-32 - In the resurrection therefore whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. But Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as angels in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. (Mark 12:23-27 and Luke 20:34-38 reveal the same truth)
Jesus deals with the Sadducees denial of a resurrection (the power of God to raise the dead) and their lack of knowledge of Scripture and you have foolishly fallen into the same trap because you think you have proof in the phrase ("God is not the God of the dead, but of the living") that people never really die, but rather their "soul" continues to live on after death.
But these passages make it clear that the issue in question is God's power to raise the dead from the grave in a resurrection - which was something the Sadducees clearly rejected. The question posed does not address who's wife the woman would be after she is dead and in the grave but, rather, after her resurrection, because the Sadducees assumed death to be final and irreversible. You hope to support Papal Rome's teaching on the state of the dead (that people exist in purgatory etc.), but you are doing so out of context as any careful Bible student will recognise from reading these Scriptures:
1 Corinthians 15:52-57 - in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting? The sting of death is sin; and the power of sin is the law: but thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.
God has allowed a few heroes of the faith to appear on earth again after their death or transference alive to heaven (e.g.: Enoch went to heaven alive - 'Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him' (Genesis 5v22-24); Elijah the Prophet "went up by a whirlwind into heaven" (2 Kings 2v11) and, of course, the Lord Jesus Christ the Messiah went into heaven without His body seeing corruption (Acts 2v27-31; 13v34-37).
The elements of the Messianic kingdom were present for the transfiguration: (i) a glorified Christ, (ii) glorified saints like Moses and Elijah - one having left the earth by death and one by the process of translation earlier, (iii) Jews still on the earth but enjoying all the light of the glory - as demonstrated by the presence of the three disciples. As the kingdom preaching was coming to its end because of the rejection and imminent death of the King, it became necessary to encourage the disciples in the expectation that the Messianic kingdom would yet be set up according to covenant promise, later if not at once, and the transfiguration bore out this certainty.
But this does not mean, for one moment, that all 'saints' especially approved by Papal Rome in defiance of God will be allowed to usurp the Lord Jesus Christ and take any part of His Mediatorship!
The souls and spirits of the majority of the righteous dead are in heaven while their corrupt, decayed bodies are in the dust awaiting their resurrection at the last trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4v14-18) when they will put on incorruption and immortality.
So, yes, 'God is the God of the living not the dead' is obviously true - but not in the twisted way Papal Rome claims!
You write: The Christians living on earth and in heaven are one spiritual body (St. Mat. 22:32; St. Mark 12:27; St. Luke 20:38).
TCE: True - but this does not help Papal Rome's false doctrine by proving that they all have the same access to life in heaven or earth, as we have proven from Scripture!
You write: Christians do not believe souls cease to exist when they die. We believe the just souls live on.
TCE: All souls live on after death - not only 'just souls'!
Jesus was the first to rise from the dead (Acts 26:23), and when He returns to this world He will raise His servants to a resurrection life like His own (1 Corinthians 15:20-23; Phil. 3:20-21). But He will raise the whole human race and those who are not His through faith will be raised for sentencing (John 5:29). Christians alive at His coming will at that instant undergo a marvellous transformation (1 Corinthians 15:50-54), while Christians who had died will experience a glorious re-embodiment (2 Corinthians 5:1-5).
As the risen Jesus was recognizable by His disciples despite the change that resurrection had wrought in Him, and as the re-embodied Moses and Elijah were recognizable at the Transfiguration (Matthew 17:3-4), and as re-embodied Jewish saints were apparently recognizable at the time of Jesus' rising (Matthew 27:52-53), so risen Christians will be recognizable to each other, and joyful reunions beyond this world with believers whom we loved and then lost through death are to be expected. This is implicit in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18, which was written because persons who were alive in Christ feared they had finally lost those who had died in Christ and Paul wrote about Christ's return in order to assure them that they would certainly see their Christian loved ones again.
You write: Colosians [sic] 1:24 "[I] now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the Church." St. Paul is teaching that his sacrifices and his sufferings, in addition to his prayers can intercede with God so that God gives others graces to convert or to remain faithful.
TCE: This is a truly moronic misinterpretation of Colossians 1:23-24 (ASV) - '...if so be that ye continue in the faith, grounded and stedfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which ye heard, which was preached in all creation under heaven; whereof I Paul was made a minister. Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and fill up on my part that which is lacking of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church'.
Paul always considers his persecutions, as far as the Jews were concerned in them, as arising from this simple circumstance - his asserting that God had chosen the Gentiles, and called them to enjoy the very same privileges with the Jews, and to constitute one Church with them. It was on this account that the Jews attempted to end his life at Jerusalem when, in order to save it, he was obliged to appeal to Caesar and as a consequence he was now suffering persecution in his imprisonment in Rome. When he writes 'filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions' he is stating that he has still some afflictions to pass through before his race of glory is finished and these afflictions which fall on him are on account of the Gospel and he is bearing them 'on behalf of His body, which is the church'. In no way does this mean he is adding his sufferings to those of Christ in order to atone for any sins - as we will emphatically prove in a few paragraphs following. It is noteworthy that Paul does not use the Greek word (παθηματα - pathēmata), the passion of Christ, but simply the Greek: θλιψεις - thlîpsis, pressure (literally or figuratively), affliction, anguish, burdened, persecution, tribulation, trouble], the afflictions common to all Christians who risk their lives bearing testimony to the Christ in this wicked world. In these afflictions we know the apostle had more than his share (2 Corinthians 11v22ff.) - but in the passion of Christ he could have none.
You write: Romans 15:30 "I beseech you therefore, brethren, through our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the charity of the Holy Ghost, that you help me in your prayers for me to God." I guess that throws Protestant mythology out the window. We clearly see mediation within the one mediation of Christ.
TCE: Only complete fools begin to gloat about imagined triumphs before they have read or heard their opponents replies:
Proverbs 17:27-28 - He that spareth his words hath knowledge; And he that is of a cool spirit is a man of understanding. Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise; When he shutteth his lips, he is esteemed as prudent.
Proverbs 18:12-13 - Before destruction the heart of man is haughty; And before honour goeth humility. He that giveth answer before he heareth, It is folly and shame unto him.
Proverbs 18:17 - He that pleadeth his cause first seemeth just; But his neighbour cometh and searcheth him out.
Proverbs 29:20 - Seest thou a man that is hasty in his words? There is more hope of a fool than of him.
Romans 15:30 - Now I beseech you, brethren, by our Lord Jesus Christ, and by the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me;
There is nothing in these words to support your view, for all we have are men praying together in a cause - to the One Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ - who is in heaven at the right-hand of God the Father (Revelation 5v6-7). The Greek word for 'strive' is synagonízomai, to struggle in company with, to be a partner/assistant, to strive together with. No one is mediating through another - they are 'struggling in company with' or 'striving together with' 'partners or assistants'!
You write: 2 Corinthians 1:11 "You helping withal in prayer for us: that for this gift obtained for us, by the means of many persons, thanks may be given by many in our behalf." St. Paul even says that the prayers of others bestow gifts upon him!
TCE: The apostle felt the prayers of the Church of God necessary for his comfort and support and the gift bestowed - by the means of many persons - is the blessings communicated by means of the prayers of many believers. Thanks may be given by many who have prayed and then hear that their prayers are so particularly answered and then feel themselves led to praise God for his gracious answers. Thus, the prayers of many obtain the gift and their resultant thanksgiving will acknowledge the mercy of God. The gift (Greek: chárisma - a divine gratuity, deliverance from danger or passion, especially a spiritual endowment, or miraculous faculty, a free gift) which the apostle mentions, was his deliverance from the dangers and deaths to which he was exposed.
This account gives absolutely no support to the doctrines of Papal Rome and is entirely consistent with the beliefs of orthodox, Bible-believing Christians!
If you familiarised yourself with the many doctrines that state the completeness of Christ's Sacrifice at Calvary you might recognise how absurd the doctrines of Papal Rome are! The un-Biblical 'Mass' detracts from the atonement wrought by Christ at the cross and, because it is said to bring about the forgiveness of sins, it is a necessity in the Catholic system of salvation which severely detracts from the final salvation that Christ accomplished at the cross (John 19:30).
Bible-believers recognise that the Mass is teaching a repetition of the death of Christ and therefore mimics the now defunct repeated sacrifices of the old covenant, which were "a reminder of sins year by year" (Hebrews 10:3). This is instead of believers having the full assurance of complete forgiveness of sins through the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ - as the Bible teaches:
Hebrews 10:11-14 - And every priest indeed standeth day by day ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, the which can never take away sins: but He, when he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; henceforth expecting till his enemies be made the footstool of his feet. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.
We have already utterly destroyed all the pretensions of the false priesthood of Papal Rome on earlier pages (see Menu or use Search This Site)!
Hebrews 10v11-14 talks of the Old Testament priesthood sacrifices - not the fake 'Mass' of Rome. And it makes clear that the repeated sacrifice of animals 'can never take away sins'.
Can you get this simple truth - NEVER means NEVER!
And then the clear emphasis: but He [the Lord Jesus Christ] , when he had offered ONE sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God'
Can you get this simple truth - ONE SACRIFICE means ONE SACRIFICE!
And by this ONE OFFERING he hath PERFECTED FOR EVER THEM THAT ARE SANCTIFIED.
Can you get this simple truth - FOREVER means FOREVER!
Clearly there is no more need for any sacrifice (of any kind) since this makes it obvious to all but the most 'ignorant and unstable' (2 Peter 3v16) that:
Christ's ONE OFFERING has PERFECTED FOREVER ALL BELIEVERS!!!
So Papal Rome's fake Mass just gives a constant reminder of sins and remaining guilt to be atoned for week after week and 'year after year' just as Old Testament believers were reminded of their sins in the same manner (Hebrews 10:3).
By contrast, Scripture states that one of the great things about the once-for-all sacrifice of Christ is that people have full assurance of complete forgiveness of sins (Hebrews 10:12).
All the fake Mass of Papal Rome does is resemble the Old Testament system by constantly reminding Papal Roman Catholics of their sin instead of the fact that our sin has been taken care of once and for all by Christ.
Scripture strongly argues against the doctrine of the Mass - even from Jesus' Words on the cross in regard to His sacrificial death: "It is finished" (John 19:30). This proclamation from the Saviour's lips is full of meaning. The Lord was doing more than announcing the termination of His physical life - for that fact was self-evident and had been predicted by Him at:
John 2:18-22 - The Jews therefore answered and said unto him, What sign showest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. The Jews therefore said, Fortunately and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou raise it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he spake this; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said.
What was not known by those who were carrying out the brutal business at Calvary was that somehow, despite the sin they were committing, God through Christ had completed the final sacrifice for sin. The work long contemplated, long promised, long expected by prophets and saints, was completed.
It is highly significant that the phrase "it is finished" can also be translated "paid in full." In ancient days, whenever someone was found guilty of a crime, the offender was put in jail and a "certificate of debt" was posted on the jail door:
Colossians 2:14 - Blotting out the handwriting [Greek: cheirógraphon, something hand-written, from which we get the word "chirograph", i.e. a manuscript, especially a legal document or bond] of ordinances [Greek: dógma, a law (civil, ceremonial or ecclesiastical), decree, ordinance] that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to His cross;
This certificate listed all the crimes the offender was found guilty of and when they were released, after serving the prescribed time in jail, the offender was given the certificate of debt with a judicial stamp on it that read: "paid in full." So Christ took the certificate of debt of all our lives (including all our sins) and nailed it on the cross and declared loudly to the world - 'It is finished!' Jesus declared that all our sins were immediately "paid in full" as He then died upon the cross (John 19:30).
His words were a triumphant recognition that He had now fully accomplished what He came into the world to do. The work of redemption was completed at the cross. Nothing further needed to be done. He had paid in full the price of our redemption:
2 Corinthians 5:21 - For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
Hebrews 1:3 - when He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high
So, how can a Papal Roman Catholic reconcile Jesus' statement, "It is finished" (John 19:30), with the continual re-presenting of Christ's sacrifice in the Mass? It is utterly impossible!
Jesus completed the work of redemption at the cross with a single once-for-all sacrifice. No more sacrifices (or "re-presentings") would occur. It was a "done deal" - a finished transaction - at that point.
The Book of Hebrews assures believers further that God declares:
"their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more" (Hebrews 10:17).
"where there is forgiveness of these things, there is no longer any offering for sin" (10:18).
Christ made a sacrificial offering "once for all when He offered up Himself' (7:27). He did so "not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption" (9:12). By the death of Christ "we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all" (10:10).
How can any Papal Roman Catholic reconcile these irrefutable Scriptures with the continual "re-presentings" of Christ's sacrifice in the Mass? Again, it is utterly impossible!
Yet another Scripture that proves the impossibility of Christ ever being "re-presented" over and over again in sacrifice is:
Romans 6:9 - Christ, having been raised from the dead, is never to die again; death no longer is master over Him.
Ever since that day at Calvary, Christ is portrayed in this way:
Revelation 1:17-18 - And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as one dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying, Fear not; I am the first and the last, and the Living one; and I was dead, and behold, I am alive for evermore, and I have the keys of death and of Hades.
How does the Papal Roman Catholic believe these verses can be made compatible with the doctrine of the Mass? It is utterly impossible!
Further - to prove that to try and re-crucify Christ through the fake Mass is to lead to the most awful blasphemy against God and a curse against the perpetrator read:
Hebrews 6:4-8 - For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the land which hath drunk the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them for whose sake it is also tilled, receiveth blessing from God: but if it beareth thorns and thistles, it is rejected and nigh unto a curse; whose end is to be burned.
Somewhere in history the Mass was invented by heretics - whether it was prior to Constantine's construction of Papal Rome or after he began the paganisation which has continued to this day.
Whenever the moment first occurred that someone rejected the clear, simple Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, and began the Mass, they remain as cursed as those who have followed any other gospel, as Scripture declares:
Galatians 1:6-9 - I marvel that ye are so quickly removing from him that called you in the grace of Christ unto a different gospel; which is not another gospel only there are some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, should preach unto you any gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema. As we have said before, so say I now again, if any man preacheth unto you any gospel other than that which ye received, let him be anathema.
(Continued on page 353)