QUESTIONS/ANSWERS FROM THE QUESTION FORUM
Group Number 62
Rev12:17 says "So the dragon became enraged at the woman and went away to make war on the rest of her children, those who keep God's commandments and hold to the testimony about Jesus. 12:18 And the dragon stood on the sand of the seashore. My question is the catholic church holds Mary in high honor not to be mistaken with worship. The faithful ask for her prayers as they have great effect.
should not all Christians regard her as our mother as scripture states in Revaluation 12:17?
First, Revelation 12:17 does not say Mary is our mother. Secondly, no inspired person ever admonished us to direct our prayers to Mary: not Jesus, not any Apostle, not Luke, not Jude, and not James.
It is good to hold Mary in honor because of the distinction given her to bear the Son of God. Truly, she was "highly favored," and is "blessed among women" (Luke 1:28; 42). So far as her motherhood is concerned, Elizabeth called "the mother of my Lord" (Lk 1:43), and "the mother of Jesus" (John 2:1,3). Some of the Jews referred to her as the "mother" of "the carpenter's son" (Matt 13:55). When Simeon blessed the eight day of Jesus, the Scripture referred to Mary as "His mother" (Lk 2:34). When Jesus hung upon the cross, Mary was there, and was called "His mother" (John 19:25). There are no other unquestionable references to her as "mother."
Care must be taken not to rob Mary of the dignity given to her when God chose her to bear the "holy child." Her own response to that singular blessing was, "And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior" (Lk 1:47). Whatever dignity, therefore, has been afforded to Mary, she is not separated from the rest of humanity in her need for a Savior.
In the book of Acts, "Mary the mother of Jesus" is mentioned one time (Acts 1:14). After that one mentioning, there is not another reference to her in all of the book of Acts. That blessed book records the conversion of Jews and Gentiles. It contains the record of the Gospel being preached to large groups, small groups, individuals, kings, governors, other political officials, and even barbarians -- but in all of those occasions, there is not a solitary reference made to Mary, the mother of Jesus--not one.
In the rest of the New Testament Scriptures (Romans through Revelation) there is not a single reference to Mary, the mother of our Lord, or Mary, the mother of Jesus -- much less to Mary, the mother of all believers. Not a solitary mentioning of her, or even the slightest allusion to her. Scripture admonishes no one to seek her, pray to her, or ask a blessing from her.
We read of "one Mediator between God and man," and it is Jesus (1 Timothy 2:5). We read of Christ "ever living" to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7:25). We even read of the blessed Holy Spirit making intercession for us (Romans 8:26-27). But we never read of Mary making intercession for us -- either when she was upon earth or in heaven. If one sites the occasion when she addressed Jesus concerning the lack of wine at the wedding feast of Cana, the Savior's response to her should be recalled. "Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come" (John 2:4).
In all of the Scriptural glimpses we have into heaven, there is not a single specific reference to her. Stephen saw heaven opened, but did not see Mary. Paul was caught up into the third heaven, but did not see Mary. John saw an open door in heaven, and was given to see all about the heavenly throne. He saw the One sitting upon it, and multitudes of personalities all about it, but did not see Mary.
You affirm that her prayers "have great effect." No word of Scripture declares such a thing, and I believe that even includes the Apocryphal books.
As to what God says about "our mother," the Scriptures are specific: "but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all" (Gal 4:26). Surely you are not suggesting that Jerusalem is actually Mary? The very next verse states, "For it is written: 'Rejoice, O barren, you who do not bear! Break forth and shout, You who are not in labor! For the desolate has many more children than she who has a husband. Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise" (Gal 4:27-28). I know of text that remotely suggests Mary was ever "barren" or "desolate," or that she is ever compared to someone who had a husband.
I join you in holding Mary in high regard. I cannot, however, join you in praying to her. If Jesus said a day was coming when we would not pray to Him, but to the Father (John 16:23), I find it exceedingly difficult to believe it is proper to pray to Mary. This is particularly true in view of the total and consist absence of any such recommendation in any Scripture. Jesus taught us to pray, "Our Father which art in heaven," not "Our mother . . . "
Isn't Mary the "ark" of Revelation, seeing she was the first one to house the Lord?
This is certainly a novel view, to say the least. It is true, that Mary did carry the "holy child," conceived of the Holy Spirit. However, Jesus did not perform the work the Father gave Him to do while He was in Mary's womb. All of His vicarious and effective work is credited to His activities AFTER He was born. This takes nothing from Mary's blessedness. The pouring forth of salvation and the Holy Spirit occurred AFTER Jesus was exalted to the right hand of God (Acts 2:33). The benefits we are receiving are coming from Christ in heaven, at the Father's right hand, not from Mary's womb.
The "ark" John saw in heaven is called "the ark of HIS covenant," not the ark of the covenant. Nothing remotely suggests it was the depiction of a person, or that 'the woman" of Revelation twelve is the same as "the ark" of Revelation eleven. I understand "the woman" of the twelfth chapter to be the Jewish people, not Christ's mother, Mary. This is precisely the same view described by Paul in the ninth chapter of Romans. There he shows the various advantages that were given to the ancient people. Not the least of these is this, "of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen" (Rom 9:5).
As to the use of the word "woman" in the book of Revelation, it is the same word used by Jesus in reference to His mother in John 2:4 (the Greek word is "gune," goo-nee). It is also the same word used in Revelation to describe a wicked false prophetess in Thyatira (Rev 2:4). It is also the same word used to describe a great spiritual harlot in chapter 17, whose hands were filled with abominations and filthy fornication, and who was drunk with the blood of the martyrs (verses 3,4,6,7,9,18). It is also the same word used for the church itself, of which it is said, "the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready" (19:7), and again in chapter twenty-one, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife" (verse 9).
The same word is used of the woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment and was made whole (Matt 9:22). It is also used of the wife of Herod, who eventually moved her husband to behead John the Baptist (Matt 14:3). It is also used to identify Sapphira, whose life God took, with that of her husband, because she lied to the Holy Spirit (Acts 5:1-7). It is even used of the woman involved in an incestuous relationship with her own son (1 Cor 5:1).
With all due respect, the word "woman" is not even a unique word for special people, to say nothing of it being applied in any exclusive sense to Mary, the mother of our Lord.
Some "scholars" talk about the "Reed Sea" and basically say that the Bible is wrong, that Moses did not cross the Red Sea, but the "Reed Sea." Is it true that the earliest version of scripture translate to "Reed Sea"? And if so, why would God bring us this error in translation? I don't believe God would do that, so what is this?
Let's not dignify those who talk about the "Reed Sea" by calling them "scholars." I personally think they simply cannot spell.
The Red Sea is approximately 1,350 miles in length and, and its widest point, is 205 miles wide. Its surface covers a remarkable 169,000 square miles, and is about 9,500 feet deep at its deepest point (about 1,000 short of two miles). A significant body of water, indeed, and scarcely a place for reed to grow!
It is true that some authorities say the "Red Sea" is a corruption of the Hebrew words "yam suph," which mean "Sea of reeds." The term "suph" comes from an Egyptian word meaning "papyrus." It is confirmed by real scholars, however, that there are no reeds in the Red Sea, and nothing in either Scripture or history associates reeds with the area where Israel crossed the Red Sea.
If the purported "Reed Sea" is what Israel really crossed, it would have placed them too far from Goshen, from whence their journey began. To reach that area, they would have had to walk around the entire Wilderness of Shur, go through the difficult central region of Sinai, and the wilderness of Paran. After crossing that sea, they would have gone north to the Sinaitic Peninsula where the law was given. It requires a lot of imagination and an enormous amount of unbelief to accept that.
The reason for people preferring the Reed Sea to the Red Sea is that it diminishes the miracle of Israel crossing the Red Sea, and Pharaoh and his armies drowning in it. If the Egyptian military were drowned in the Reed sea, they would all have perished in water from ankle to hip deep. you will have to admit, that would be a great miracle indeed!
It seems that you are calling the Holy Spirit the the "divine Power." The question is not that the Holy Spirit dwells in the Christian !! But HOW ? The answer is (as you said and the Bible says BY FAITH). How do we get FAITH " Faith comes from hearing and hearing by the WORD of GOD"----thus the POWER is the the Holy Spirit delivered WORD of GOD--Rom. 1:16 ---The Gospel
Who said that "HOW" the Spirit dwells in a person is the question? Where in all of Scripture is such an issue brought up? Where does God say that is the issue, and where is it affirmed that this is the question? Why do the Scriptures say "And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" (Gal 4:6). "Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us" (Rom 5:5). "Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit" (1 Thess 4:8). You must take care not to make an issue of something God's Word does not make an issue of.
Romans 8:9 declares the point to be whether or not the Spirit is possessed, "But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His." You will notice in this remarkable affirmation that the Spirit, the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ are all equated. Further, false and condemned teachers are described as "having not the Spirit" (Jude 17).
I did not say the Holy Spirit is "the Divine power," as though He were some impersonal force. Nor, indeed, did I ascribe to Him some quality or activity that was not specifically assigned to Him by God. I did say God strengthens us with might in the inner may through His Spirit. That, of course, is precisely what Ephesians 3:16 says. "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man." I mean nothing more or less than that affirmation.
The Scriptures do not say the Spirit dwells in our hearts by faith, but that Jesus Christ does (Eph 3:16). It is true that faith comes by means of hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. It is also true that it is "given" to men to believe (Phil 1:29), that they "believe through grace" (Acts 18:27), that "love with faith" comes "from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ" (Eph 6:23),
that the "grace of our Lord was exceedingly abundant, with faith and love which are in Christ Jesus" (1 Tim 1:14), and that we have "obtained like precious faith" (1 Tim 1:14).
Having the Holy spirit certainly does not make us God. It does, however, confirm one is a child of God. The Holy Spirit "bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God" (Rom 8:16). For that matter, Jesus affirmed both He and the Father would make their abode, or dwelling place with the individual who loved Him and kept His words. No person is put to a disadvantage by believing those words. All who do not believe them are put at a decided disadvantage.
. . . wondering about the necessity of the blood being shed by offerings that were made and wondering about the difference between blood offerings and burnt offerings.
Please explain the importance of the different types of offerings being made in the old testament. What was the difference in the burnt offering as described in Gen. 22:2 and the burnt offering as described in Judges 11:31 ? Did this mean he was to sacrifice his daughter as a blood offering or an offering of commitment?
The various offerings presented before and under the law were not an end of themselves. They were "shadows" of the atoning sacrifice God would make in the death of His own Son -- His own Lamb. In some ways, they were precise, while in othewrs, they were very general. Time will not allow a detailed answer concerning all of the sacrifices required under the Law. I trust the following will suffice.
THE BLOOD OFFERING
Blood offerings were required because of the association of blood with life (Lev 17:11-14). The offering of blood was connected with atonement, and was called "the blood of the sin offering of atonement" (Ex 30:10). This atoning blood was poured out at the foot of the altar of burnt offerings (Lev 4:7). It was also sprinkled inside the tabernacle in front of the veil of separation (Lev 4:17), and put upon the horns of the altar of incense (Lev 4:7). The blood of the sin offering was also put upon the horns of the altar of burnt offerings with the finger of the priest (Lev 4:34).
This offering signified that sinners could only be redeemed by the forfeiture of life -- innocent life. Further, every part of life was to be affected by the blood. All of those sacrifices were impotent to take away sin, either from the presence of God or the conscience of men (Heb 10:1-4). They were a vivid depiction of the fact that sin causes life to be judged and forfeited. It so defiles life, that it is rejected by God.
In all of this, God was showing WHY He gave His only begotten Son for sin. There was no way God could simply overlook sin, or speak it away. Thus, He imputed, or credited, the sins of mankind to Christ -- much like Aaron imputed the sins of the people to a living goat (Lev 16:21). Then, while bearing our sins in His body on the tree (1 Pet 2:24), God cursed Jesus (Gal 3:13), making Him to become sin for us (2 Cor 5:21). His life was forfeited in order that we might be made alive, or "made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor 5:21).
The figure of the blood offering, being only a shadow, breaks down at this point. Jesus did what no other sacrifice could do -- He came back from the dead. He recovered from the curse, having brought perfect satisfaction to a righteous God (Isa 53:11).
The multiplicty of the offerings made under the Law were required because of the extensiveness and effectiveness of Christ's sacrifice. There were burnt offerings (Lev 6:9), sin offerings, (Ex 29:14), grain offerings (Ex 29:41), peace offerings (Lev 3:1-9), guilt, or trespass, offerings (Lev 5:5-19), heave offerings (Ex 29:27-28), and drink offerings (Ex 29:40-41). Burnt offerings revealed how Jesus was totally offered to God, being subjected to His fiery indignation. Sin offerings confirm the sacrifice of Christ was necessitated because of man's transgression. The grain offerings revealed how a fruitful life had to be offered to God. Peace offerings showed that Christ's death was necessary in order for us to be at peace with God. Guilt offerings unveiled how personal our sin really was. Heave offerings emphasized how a strong appeal was made to God in the lifting up of Jesus upon the cross. Drink offerings showed how Jesus "poured out" His soul for our sin (Isa 53:12).
These are only rudimentary observations. They do, however, confirm how marvelopus the sacrifice of Christ really was. Keep in mind that Jesus was Himself the priest, the sacrifice, the altar, the incense, and the tabernacle -- all at the same time.
THE BURNT OFFERING
The significance of the "burnt offering" was that it could not be used for anything else. The part that was burned had no other utility. It was consumed for the Lord. "Burnt offerings" are mentioned at least 184 times from Genesis through Ezekiel. Offerings "made by fire" are mentioned at least 63 times from Genesis through First Samuel. When offered to God by fire, nothing was left for any other use.
Some of these sacrifices were "whole burnt offerings" (Deut 33:10; 1 Sam 7:9; Psa 51:19; Mark 12:33). With the exception of the skin, the whole carcass went up in smoke unto the Lord (Lev 7:8). Other offerings burned only part of the sacrifice to God (Lev 1:9), with portions of it being eaten by the priests (Lev 6:25-26). In the latter, a picture of us partaking of Christ is presented -- eating the sacrifice, as illuded to in 1 Corinthians 10:17-18.
The Scriptures do not provide detailed comparisons between the burnt offerings and the sacrifice of Christ. We conclude that these sacrifices portrayed Christ's total commitment to His Father. Apart from salvation, Christ has no utility to men whatsoever. His whole being was offered to God. That means He lived and died only for His Father, seeking only to please Him.
Secondly, the burnt offerings portrayed a certain fragrance that rose to God (Exodus 29:18,25; Lev 1:9,13,17; 2:2; 3:5,16). This was a most vivid depiction of the pleasing nature of Christ's sacrifice to His Father (Isa 53:11). God was not pleased with the sufferings and death of Christ themselves, but with the glorious effects that came from them. Peter referred to those effects as "the glory that should follow" (1 Pet 1:11). Thus Jesus is said to have "given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma" (Eph 5:2).
In the case of Abraham being commanded to "Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you," this was a very early depiction of the completeness of Christ's sacrifice. So far as Abraham was concerned, it meant that he must relinquish any claim on Isaac, considering him to be exclusively in the hands of the Lord. Isaac was, in a very real sense, for the work of God more than for the satisfaction of Abraham. He did not need to carry the figure out to the fullest, for it was enough to see that, just as God was willing to offer Jesus, so Abraham was willing to offer Isaac. That whole incident painted a picture for us of the willingness of God to provide a thorough and righteous salvation for us. It also showed that God was not merely reacting to sin in the sending of His Son.
THE CASE OF JEPHTHAH
Concerning the vow of Jephthah, the Scriptures do not make perfectly clear what actually took place. Some have conjectured that Jephthah did not actually mean he would have offered whatever met him, as a burnt offering. Rather, they say, he meant he would offer him (to Him, or to God). In my judgment, the text does not support that view, even though some rather strong reasons are adduced for it, namely, that such an offering could not apply to a dog or some other unclean animal. Nor, indeed, could it apply to his neighbor's wife or sons, over whom he had no power. Some have also thought that two things were actually covered in this rather hasty vow. It is thought buy some, if he was meant by a person, that individual would "surely be the Lord's," if it was an appropriate animal, it would be a "burnt offering."
I do not believe either of these views are tenable. First, it is unlikely that anything but a person would come forth from his house to meet him. The phrase "meet him," to my knowledge, is always applied to people, and never to an animal. It is my understanding that Jephthah's thoughts were based upon a stipulation of the Law -- one, I might add, he could not have understand as fully as we do. That stipulation is found in Leviticus 27:28-29. "Nevertheless no devoted offering that a man may devote to the LORD of all that he has, both MAN and beast, or the field of his possession, shall be sold or redeemed; every devoted offering is most holy to the LORD. No person under the ban, who may become doomed to destruction among men, shall be redeemed, but shall surely be put to death."
In view of this, I believe Jephthah did offer his daughter as a burnt sacrifice to God. It does not appear she would spend two months bewailing her virginity if she was merely consigned to perpetual virginity. In that case, she would have a lifetime to bewail her condition. The Scriptures affirm Jephthah did to his daughter what he had vowed. She passed from this life with this grievous epitaph, "She knew no man." When the daughters of Israel came annually to lament, they did not lament because Jephthah's daughter was a perpetual virgin, but they went to "lament the daughter of Jephthah the Gileadite."
Admittedly, this is a most difficult passage. Its difficulty is somewhat neutralized when we stop trying to evaluate Jephthah as though he lived in the blazing light of the Gospel of Christ. His vow was much like Lot offering his daughters to the sinners of Sodom (Gen 19:8), or the "certain Levite" who gave his concubine to some equally wicked men, then took the body of the ravished concubine and cut it into twelve pieces, sending them into all the coasts of Israel (Judges 19:25-29).
Jephthah and others lived in spiritually primitive times, when the things commonly known among believers now, were not known. This accounts for great men of God having multiple wives, including Jacob, David, and Solomon. Who could forget blessed people like Tamar and Rahab? Even though these, and others, "obtained a good report" through their faith, they all "did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us" (Heb 11:39-40). God is greatly to be praised for the marvelous light that has been given us in Christ Jesus. We have been delivered from many acts of ignorance and hasty vows because of this.
I understand that the bible teaches a person must be baptized to be saved. So where did the sinners prayer originate and why do most all churches teach it?
In the minds of uninspired men. They imagine that the prayer of the publican, to which Jesus referred in Luke 18:13, was intended to be a pattern for receiving salvation. No such representation is found in Scripture. No inspired man ever appealed to those words of Jesus to lead men into salvation. In fact, to my knowledge, no person was ever told to pray in order that they might be "saved."
When the people cried out "Men and brethren, what shall we do?", that would have been an ideal time for Peter to lead them all in "the sinners prayer." Instead, he cried out "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call" (Acts 2:38-39).
When the Philippian jailor cried out, "What must I do to be saved?", that too would have been an excellent time for Paul to use the "repeat-after-me" approach, leading him in a prayer. Instead, Paul said, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household" (Acts 16:30-31).
There are several instances of people being saved in the book of Acts. None of them find anyone being led in prayer, or being told to pray, for salvation. Beside all of this, I should suppose there is technically no other kind of prayer than "a sinner's prayer."
A catholic friend is beginning to come out from the catholic church and is questioning purgatory. She wants scriptures to show that there is not a purgatory. Can you please help us with that. She is a new born again Christian and is searching the Word constantly.
Official Roman Catholic statements concerning purgatory did not even begin until after 1200 AD. That is a bit late to be formulating doctrine. The Gospel of Christ was cast in stone through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit before the middle of the first century. Here is a brief background of this heresy.
Council of Lyons II (1274): "We believe...that the souls, by the purifying compensation are purged after death."
Council of Florence (1438-1443): "If they have died repentant for their sins and having love of God, but have not made satisfaction for things they have done or omitted by fruits worthy of penance, then their souls, after death, are cleansed by the punishment of Purgatory...the suffrages of the faithful still living are efficacious in bringing them relief from such punishment, namely the Sacrifice of the Mass, prayers and almsgiving and other works of piety which, in accordance with the designation of the Church, are customarily offered by the faithful for each other."
Council of Trent (1545-1563): "We constantly hold that purgatory exists, and that the souls of the faithful there detained are helped by the prayers of the faithful."
Vatican II documents declare: "The doctrine of purgatory clearly demonstrates that even when the guilt of sin has been taken away, punishment for it or the consequences of it may remain to be expiated or cleansed. They often are. In fact, in purgatory the souls of those who died in the charity of God and truly repentant, but who had not made satisfaction with adequate penance for their sins and omissions are cleansed after death with punishments designed to purge away their debt" (Vatican II documents, Page 75).
Revised and Updated Edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia explains: "The souls of those who have died in the state of grace suffer for a time a purging that prepares them to enter heaven...It is an intermediate state in which the departed souls can atone for unforgiven sins before receiving their final reward."
Understanding that these statements reflect a human understanding rather than a Divine revelation, note the following key expressions.
1. "Purifying compensation."
2. "Purged after death."
3. "Have not made satisfaction for things they have done or omitted by fruits worthy of penance."
4. "Cleansed by the punishment of Purgatory.
5. The "suffrages (prayers) of the faithful still living" bringing relief from the punishment of those have died.
6. "The Sacrifice of the Mass."
7. The faithful detained in Purgatory are "helped by the prayers of the faithful."
8. "Cleansed after death with punishments designed to purge away their debt."
9. "Departed souls can atone for unforgiven sins before receiving their final reward."
These statements, together with their implication, are of a most serious nature. They reflect upon the atonement wrought by Christ, suggesting that it was not sufficient, but is aided and enhanced by a temporal suffering in Purgatory.
First, no such place is declared in Scripture. Even the Apocryphal book of Maccabees, upon which the dogma is founded, is vague on the matter. The questionable passage is found in Second Maccabees 12:44. I am here quoting from the Confraternity-Duoay version, a conservative catholic resource. "For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous to PRAY FOR THE DEAD."
Second, we have no example in either Testament of a person praying for the dead. Not even Jesus prayed for the dead, which He surely would have done if it were in order. Moses never spoke of it, nor did any of the Holy prophets. John the Baptist did not, nor did any of the Gospel writers, Paul, Peter, Luke, James, or Jude. It is really not our responsibility to prove such a doctrine is false. Rather, it is the responsibility of those who declare it to prove it is true. That will, of course, require decidedly more than pointing us to the authority of some pope, bishop, or council.
A SINGLE SACRIFICE FOR SIN
The Scriptures affirm a single solitary sacrifice for sin. It was offered one time, not repeated times, as in the "Sacrifice of the Mass." The Spirit makes a decided point of this single sacrifice of Christ.
" . . . for this He did ONCE FOR ALL when He offered up Himself" (Heb 7:27).
"Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place ONCE FOR ALL, having obtained eternal redemption." (Heb 9:12)
"He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, ONCE at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." (Heb 9:28)
"So Christ was offered ONCE to bear the sins of many." (Heb 9:28)
"By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ ONCE FOR ALL." (Heb 10:10)
"But this Man, after He had offered ONE SACRIFICE for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God" (Heb 10:12).
"For by ONE OFFERING He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified." (Heb 10:14).
It is further declared that repeated sacrifices (as are emulated in the Mass) are repeated because they are not effective. What is more, only the sacrifices offered unto the Law of Moses, the Old Covenant, are said to be repeated. No other repetitive sacrifices have ever been valid. Further, their repetition only stirred up the recollection of sins, they did not relieve the conscience of the people. "For then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once purified, would have had no more consciousness of sins" (Heb 10:2-3). No such traits are ascribed to the death of the Lord Jesus Christ. Yet, the very existence of Purgatory postulates the ineffectiveness of the death of the Son of God. In the case of Purgatory, Christ's death plus the suffering of those who "died in grace" equals forgiveness and satisfaction. There is not a speck of truth in that postulate.
Christ's solitary death is referred to as "one Man's obedience," by which we are "made righteous" (Rom 5:19). It is further declared that God "made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor 5:21). In this great work there is not a residue of sin that is left behind, to be purged from us by the fires of purgatory.
We are "reconciled to God through the death of His Son," not through a mythical purging in Purgatory (Rom 5:10). Cleansing is expressly said to be through "the blood of Christ." It is said to be appropriated when we "walk in the light as He is in the light" (1 John 1:7).
Because of the criticality of knowing we are freed from all guilt by our faith in Christ, this was preached with power by the Apostles. Compare the following statement with being purged of the remnants of sin in Purgatory. "And by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses" (Acts 13:39).
Believers in Christ are told, "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor 5:8). A blessing is pronounced upon all who "die in the Lord," something even Catholic dogma acknowledges takes place in the people whom they say will be purged in Purgatory. "Write: 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.'" (Rev 14:13)
Jesus blood is said to have been shed "for the remission of sins" (Matt 26:28). Men are commanded to "repent and be baptized for the remission of sins" (Acts 2:38). Redemption through Christ's blood is equated with "the forgiveness of sins" (Eph 1:7; Col 1:14).
Nowhere in Scripture -- not even the unacceptable Apocryphal books, is the remission of sins declared to be by punishment or suffering -- nowhere! Discard the notion or Purgatory with both joy and confidence. It is false to the core, and reproaches the Lord Jesus who has fully paid the debt for sin. Your faith brings the remission to you.
In our bible study on Heaven the question came up as to what our resurrection bodies will be like in heaven. Will they be bodies of flesh and bone like Jesus' resurrection body before He ascended into heaven or do we just not know?
We do not know the exact nature of the resurrection body. Nor, indeed, are we sure precisely what type of body Jesus had after He was raised from the dead. It is true He told His disciples, "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have" (Luke 24:39). I do not believe this was intended to be an exhaustive commentary on the resurrection body. That would posit something immortal being touched by mortals, and someone incorruptible being seen by corruptible eyes. It seems to me that Jesus accommodated Himself to human frailty in allowing them to see Him, but only in part.
When John saw the glorified Christ on the Isle of Patmos, the appearance was quite different that what He saw in Christ's post-resurrection appearances (Rev 1:13-17). Even that was not the fulness of the Lord's glory. That will be seen when He comes again "in His own glory" (Luke 9:26). Then, we will see Him "as He is," which means He has not yet been seen in that way (1 John 3:1-2). At that time, we will also "appear with Him in glory," in our resurrection bodies (Col 3:4). Scripture apprises us that those bodies will be like His "glorious body" (Phil 3:20-21). To me, that means the body seen by the Apostles was not a full revelation, but one confirming Jesus was "risen indeed." We must wait for His return to see Him in ALL of His glory, or most precisely as He is. Until that time, men can only speculate about the kind of body He had.
Confirming that the sight and tangibility of Christ's resurrection body was more of an accommodation to the frailty of the disciples, when Jesus appeared to the two on the road to Emmaus, Mark says, "He appeared IN A DIFFERENT FORM to two of them, while they were walking along on their way to the country" (Mark 16:12, NASB). That leads me to the conclusion that the appearance of Jesus in bodily form was more the means of persuading them He was really risen from the dead, than a precise representation of the resurrection body. This, of course, is my opinion.
When the Scriptures deal with the resurrection body at length, they take another approach. The point made is that the new body is different, and will be adapted for a different environment. The dialog is found in First Corinthians 15:35-44. The language employed is addressed to our faith, and is intended to persuade us of the reality of our house from heaven. The question posed includes, "with what kind of body do they [the raised dead] come?" The response is rather strong: "Foolish one, what you sow is not made alive unless it dies" (verses 35-36). The point is that the answer is rather obvious when you think of it. Here is how the Spirit unfolds the subject.
1. What is planted does not look like what comes up (verse 37a). The parallel to the resurrection is seen in burying the body versus God raising it.
2. What grows out of the ground does not look like what was planted (verse 37b).
3. God gives every seed a unique body (verse 38).
4. All fleshly bodies are not alike. Each one is adapted for the environment occupied. Animals, fish, and birds are quite different in appearance, and function quite differently in their appointed environs (verse 39).
5. In the creation, there are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies. They differ in appearance and functionality (verse 40).
6. Heavenly bodies are also diverse, having different appearances and functions. The sun, moon, and stars have different forms and appearances. The stars also differ in appearance from one another (verse 41).
7. The resurrection of the dead is like that. We will receive a different kind of body -- like what grows out of the ground is different from the seed planted in the earth -- like the bodies of animals, fish, and birds differ -- like heavenly bodies are different from earthly ones -- like the sun, moon, and stars differ -- like here are differences among stars (verse 42).
8. The difference of the resurrection body from the one possessed when we were in the world is outlined. The earthly body is planted in burial. It is corrupt, dishonorable, natural, and weak. By contrast, the resurrection body is incorruptible, honorable, spiritual, and powerful (verses 43-44).
The Spirit's explanation is designed to satisfy our hearts. The resurrection body will precisely meet our needs. We will remain distinct from other personalities, keeping our identity. Yet, the comparison of the resurrection body with our present ones is like comparing a stalk of corn, laden with many ears, with a single seed that went into the ground. The details are simply beyond the reach of our intellect.
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