Jesus is God Verse Comparisons

This page is a work in progress.

Old Testament

New Testament

A voice cries: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Isaiah 40:3

In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah when he said, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: ‘Prepare the way of the Lord; make his paths straight.’”

Matthew 3:1-3

“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me.

Isaiah 43:10

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 

John 1:1

And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.

Joel 2:32

“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Romans 10:8-13

In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

[…]

“Go, and say to this people:

“‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’

Make the heart of this people dull,
and their ears heavy,
and blind their eyes;
lest they see with their eyes,
and hear with their ears,
and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”

Isaiah 6:1-10

When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

[…]

“He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.”

 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue;”

John 12:36-42

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel

    and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:

“I am the first and I am the last;

    besides me there is no god.

Isaiah 44:6

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

Revelation 1:17-18

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel

    and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts:

“I am the first and I am the last;

    besides me there is no god.

Isaiah 44:6

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 

John 1:1

The oracle of the word of the LORD concerning Israel: Thus declares the LORD, who stretched out the heavens and founded the earth and formed the spirit of man within him: […]

“And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, so that, when they look on me, on him whom they have pierced, they shall mourn for him, as one mourns for an only child, and weep bitterly over him, as one weeps over a firstborn.”

Zechariah 12:1,10

 And again another Scripture says, “They will look on him whom they have pierced.”

John 19:37

By myself I have sworn; from my mouth has gone out in righteousness a word that shall not return: ‘To me every knee shall bow, every tongue shall swear allegiance.’

Isaiah 45:23

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-10

“for you shall worship no other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” 

Exodus 34:14

Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:9-10

I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and I am God.”

Isaiah 43:11-12

waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ

Titus 2:13

I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior. I declared and saved and proclaimed, when there was no strange god among you; and you are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and I am God.”

Isaiah 43:11-12

Simeon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who have obtained a faith of equal standing with ours by the righteousness of our God and Savior Jesus Christ

2 Peter 1:1

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:6

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

“Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, ‘God with us’). 

Matthew 1:22-23

This is what the LORD says, your Repurchaser, Who formed you since you were in the womb:“I am the LORD, who made everything. I stretched out the heavens by myself, And I spread out the earth. Who was with me?”

Isaiah 44:24

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 

Colossians 1:16-17

“O my God,” I say, “take me not away in the midst of my days—you whose years endure throughout all generations! Of old you laid the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of your hands.

They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away, but you are the same, and your years have no end.

Psalm 102:24-27

But of the Son he says,

“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever, the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”

And,

“You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands;

they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”

Hebrews 1:8-12

“For thus says the LORD God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the LORD God. I will seek the lost, and I will bring back the strayed, and I will bind up the injured, and I will strengthen the weak, and the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them in justice.

Ezekiel 34:11-16

 I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. 

John 10:11-16

 “As for you, my flock, thus says the LORD God: Behold, I judge between sheep and sheep, between rams and male goats.”

Ezekiel 34:17

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 

Matthew 25:31-33

For God will bring every deed into judgment, with every secret thing, whether good or evil.

Ecclesiastes 12:14

Let the rivers clap their hands; let the hills sing for joy together before the LORD, for he comes to judge the earth. He will judge the world with righteousness, and the peoples with equity.

Psalm 98:8-9

For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God.

Romans 14:10

For the Father judges no one, but has given all judgment to the Son

John 5:22

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ

2 Corinthians 5:10

But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.  And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”

Isaiah 8:13-15

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.

Acts 4:11

So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe,

“The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,

and

“A stone of stumbling,
and a rock of offense.”

They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.

1 Peter 2:7-8

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Jesus Christ is God

This article has two goals. The first is to present some of the foundational texts demonstrating the divinity of Jesus Christ. An exhaustive presentation would take too long! The second goal, which will be addressed second, is to give an answer the most common objections to this truth.

Note on the Divine Name: 

The name Yahweh or Jehovah comes from YHWH, which is the Hebrew root “to be.” In second century BC Jews stopped saying the Divine Name out of reverence and replaced it with Adonai, which means “the LORD.” In the New Testament it was always written in Greek as Kyrios which is translated as LORD or Lord in modern bibles. The name YHWH is not found in any ancient copies of the New Testament.  God speaking of Himself in the first person in Exodus 3:14 says, “I am” as His name. 

John the Baptist

Jesus identifies John the Baptist as the prophesied voice crying out in the wilderness to prepare the way of the LORD. Whom did John the Baptist prepare the way for? He prepared the way for Jesus.

“For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet, saying, ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make His paths straight!”’ Matthew 3:3

“This is the one about whom it is written, ‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, who will prepare Your way before You.'” Matthew 11:10

The first verse is a quote from Isaiah 40.

“A voice cries:“In the wilderness prepare the way of the LORD; make straight in the desert a highway for our God.  Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low;the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.”” Isaiah 40:3-5

The prophecy of Isaiah doesn’t talk about the coming of a human messiah. It talks about the coming of the LORD God. It says the glory of the LORD shall be revealed and seen by men. The Gospel of John says;

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”” John 1:14-15

Jesus is the LORD that John was announcing and preparing a way for. It is Jesus’ glory which Isaiah prophesied would be revealed.

In Matthew 11:10 Jesus is identifying John as the messenger of Malachi 3:1. That makes Jesus the one who is coming.

“Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts.” Malachi 3:1

In the Old Testament prophecy God identifies Himself as the one who is coming. Jesus puts Himself in the place of the LORD God as the one who has come. Malachi says that the Lord will go into his temple, and Jesus does go into the earthly temple. When the first temple was built, it was to house the ark of the covenant, and to be God’s dwelling on earth.

“I have indeed built you an exalted house, a place for you to dwell in forever.” 1 Kings 3:18

But Jesus calls His own body the true temple.

“So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?” But he was speaking about the temple of his body. When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken.” John 2:18-22

Jesus’ body is the true temple because He is God made man. As Paul later wrote;

“For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily,” Colossians 2:9

The Gospel of John

The Gospel of John introduces Jesus as “the Word,” explicitly calling Him God, and the creator.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:1-3

“I AM” statements of Jesus

God revealed Himself to Moses this way;

“God said to Moses, “I am who I am.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”” Exodus 3:14

Jesus makes many “I am,” statements in the Gospel of John (6:35; 8:12; 8:58; 10:9; 10:11-14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1-5; John 18:6), most explicitly at John 8:58

“So the Jews said to him, “You are not yet fifty years old, and have you seen Abraham?” Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” So they picked up stones to throw at him, but Jesus hid himself and went out of the temple.”

John 8:57-59

They tried to put him to death, because He claimed to be God, taking the Divine Name to Himself.

Isaiah’s Theophany (Vision of God)

“Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled:

“Lord, who has believed what he heard from us,
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
Isaiah 53:1

Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said, 

“He has blinded their eyes
and hardened their heart,
lest they see with their eyes,
and understand with their heart, and turn,
and I would heal them.”
(Isaiah 6:9-10)

Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue.” John 12:37-42

“Although he had performed so many signs…” refers to Jesus. “All the same, many even of the rulers actually put faith in him,” again refers to Jesus. To Whom is it referring when the text says, “Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory, and he spoke about him.”? Again, the answer is Jesus.

At the start of the quoted section of the book of Isaiah we read;

“In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the LORD sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” Isaiah 6:1-3

Isaiah even went on to say;

“Then I said: “Woe to me! I am as good as dead, For I am a man of unclean lips, And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of armies himself!”” Isaiah 6:5

Isaiah 6 speaks of how Isaiah saw the glory of the LORD God, and the Gospel of John 12 says this vision was of Jesus. This makes sense, because the Gospel of John previously stated that; “Not that any man has seen the Father, except the one who is from God; this one has seen the Father.” John 6:46 Therefore, Isaiah did not see the glory of God the Father, He saw God the Son.

Thomas’ Confession of Faith

At the climax of John’s Gospel, the resurrection account, formerly doubting Thomas proclaims His faith in the resurrected Jesus by saying, “My Lord and My God.”

“Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”” John 20:27-29

Equality With God

At John chapter 5, the Jews accuse Jesus of violating the command to avoid work on the sabbath by healing a man on the sabbath. Jesus makes a shocking statement which the Jews understood fully.

“And this was why the Jews were persecuting Jesus, because he was doing these things on the Sabbath.  But Jesus answered them, “My Father is working until now, and I am working.” This was why the Jews were seeking all the more to kill him, because not only was he breaking the Sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.” John 5:16-18

Jesus states that God the Father works on the sabbath, and so does He. He is above the commandment to abstain from work on the sabbath, because He is not subject to it as the Divine Son of God. Scripture plainly states, “he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God.”

The Only Begotten & Creator

At times, men and angels are called sons of God in scripture. An example is Galatians 3:26 or Job 1:6. But scripture says that Jesus is the “only begotten.”

“For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.”

John 3:16

This is in distinction even to the angels, who cannot be called begotten.

“For to which of the angels did God ever say, “You are my Son, today I have begotten you.”?” Hebrews 1:5.

Men can be called sons of God by the adoption of God’s grace (see Romans 8:15) or by analogy, because God is the creator. Angels can be called sons of God by analogy, because they are created by God. But John 1, Hebrews, 1, Colossians 1 all say that Jesus Himself is the creator. John 1 says he came forth from the bosom of the Father. Other things were created from nothing. But Jesus comes forth from the Father and shares his uncreated nature. It is in this way that He is the only begotten. Because Jesus shares the same Divine nature as His Father, He is God. Jesus can only be the creator of all things if He Himself is uncreated.

“I am the Lord, your Holy One, the Creator of Israel, your King.” Isaiah 43:15

“This is what the LORD says, your Repurchaser, Who formed you since you were in the womb:“I am the LORD, who made everything. I stretched out the heavens by myself, And I spread out the earth. Who was with me?” Isaiah 44:24

“Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last. My hand laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand spread out the heavens; when I call to them, they stand forth together.” Isaiah 48:12-13

“I said: “O my God, Do not do away with me in the middle of my life, You whose years span all generations. Long ago you laid the foundations of the earth, And the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; Just like a garment they will all wear out.Just like clothing you will replace them, and they will pass away. But you are the same, and your years will never end.” Psalm 102:24-27

These Old Testament verses declare that the LORD is the creator and God. They emphasize that God was alone in the act of creation (Isaiah 44:24). But the New Testament says that Jesus is the creator.

“All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” John 1:3

Hebrews 1:10-12 actually quotes Psalm 102:24-27, which is a prayer addressing God, and says that it was written in reference to Jesus.

“But of the Son he says, […] and, “you laid the foundations of the earth, And the heavens are the work of your hands. They will perish, but you will remain; Just like a garment they will all wear out.Just like clothing you will replace them, and they will pass away. But you are the same, and your years will never end.”” Hebrews 1:8, 10-12

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17

The author of Romans says that all things were created for God.

“O the depth of God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How unsearchable his judgments are and beyond tracing out his ways are!  For “who has come to know the LORD’s mind, or who has become his adviser?” Or, “who has first given to him, so that it must be repaid to him?” Because from him and by him and for him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.” Romans 11:33-36

But all things were created by Jesus and for Jesus. Therefore, Jesus is God.

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17

Jesus is Eternal

Hebrews chapter 7 states that Jesus is eternal, like God. The author of Hebrews makes a comparison to the Old Testament Priest-King Melchizedek.

“For this Melchizedek, king of Salem, priest of the Most High God, met Abraham returning from the slaughter of the kings and blessed him, and to him Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.” Hebrews 7:1-3

Melchizedek was not literally without a genealogy, but He appeared in the Genesis account out of nowhere as if he were. In this way, he resembles the Son of God who in His Divine nature is without genealogy. Being eternal is a divine characteristic. Not only is Jesus eternal, He is changeless, another Divine characteristic. Compare the following verses:

“For I am the LORD; I do not change.” Malachi 3:6

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Jesus is Worshipped

God is a jealous God, who does not share His glory, and He demands exclusive worship.

“I am the LORD. That is my name; I give my glory to no one else.” Isaiah 42:8

“for you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” Exodus 34:14

But Jesus receives equal worship along with God the Father.

“You are worthy, Lord our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they came into existence and were created.” Revelation 4:11

““The Lamb who was slaughtered is worthy to receive the power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing.” And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and underneath the earth and on the sea, and all the things in them, saying: “To the One sitting on the throne and to the Lamb be the blessing and the honor and the glory and the might forever and ever.”The four living creatures were saying: “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshipped.” Revelation 5:12-14

“For the Father judges no one at all, but he has entrusted all the judging to the Son, so that all may honor the Son just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.” John 5:22-23

“For this very reason, God exalted him to a superior position and kindly gave him the name that is above every name,  so that in the name of Jesus every knee should bend—of those in heaven and those on earth and those under the ground  and every tongue should openly acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11

“No, but go on growing in the undeserved kindness and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.” 2 Peter 2:18

Jesus is All Knowing

To be all knowing is an attribute of God alone.

“then may you hear from the heavens, your dwelling place, and may you forgive  and take action; and reward each one according to all his ways, for you know his heart (you alone truly know every human heart), so that they may fear you all the days they live on the land that you gave to our forefathers.” 1 Kings 8:39-40

“The heart is more treacherous than anything else and is desperate. Who can know it? I, the LORD, am searching the heart, Examining the innermost thoughts* (kidneys), To give to each one according to his ways, According to the fruitage of his works.” Jeremiah 17:9-10

But Jesus has all knowledge, and knows what is in the human heart.

“Carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.” Colossians 2:3

“But Jesus would not entrust himself to them because he knew them all and because he did not need to have anyone bear witness about man, for he knew what was in man.” John 2:24-25

“His disciples said: “See! Now you are speaking plainly and are not using comparisons. Now we know that you know all things and you do not need to have anyone question you. By this we believe that you came from God.”  Jesus answered them: “Do you believe now?  Look! The hour is coming, indeed, it has come, when each one of you will be scattered to his own house and you will leave me alone. But I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” John 16:29-32

“He said to him a third time: “Simon son of John, do you have love me?” Peter became grieved that he asked him the third time: “Do you have love me?” So he said to him: “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him: “Feed my little sheep. Most truly I say to you, when you were younger, you used to clothe yourself and walk about where you wanted. But when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and another man will clothe you and carry you where you do not wish.”  He said this to indicate by what sort of death he would glorify God. After he said this, he said to him: “Continue following me.”” John 21:17-19

“To the angel of the congregation in Thyatiʹra write: These are the things that the Son of God says, the one who has eyes like a fiery flame and whose feet are like fine copper: […] And I will kill her children with deadly plague, so that all the congregations will know that I am the one who searches the innermost thoughts* (kidneys) and hearts, and I will give to you individually according to your deeds.” Revelation 2:18, 32

Theophanies

In the Old Testament God appeared and spoke to Moses and Elijah on mountains, although they could not look on His face.

“Moses said, “Please show me your glory.” And he said, “I will make all my goodness pass before you and will proclaim before you my name ‘The LORD.’ And I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy. But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for man shall not see me and live.” And the Lord said, “Behold, there is a place by me where you shall stand on the rock,  and while my glory passes by I will put you in a cleft of the rock, and I will cover you with my hand until I have passed by. Then I will take away my hand, and you shall see my back, but my face shall not be seen.”” Exodus 33:18-23

Note that God “passed by” Moses. The same words are used to describe God’s appearance before Elijah. Elijah covers his face before going out to speak to God.  He can’t look on the face of God.

“The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.” Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper.When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave. Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?””1 Kings 19:11-13

Jesus took Peter, James and John up a mountain and revealed his glory to them, and Moses and Elijah appeared speaking with Him, and God the Father spoke.

“After six days Jesus took with him Peter, James and John the brother of James, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus. Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here. If you wish, I will put up three shelters—one for you, one for Moses and one for Elijah.” While he was still speaking, a bright cloud covered them, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased. Listen to him!” When the disciples heard this, they fell facedown to the ground, terrified. But Jesus came and touched them. “Get up,” he said. “Don’t be afraid.” When they looked up, they saw no one except Jesus.” Matthew 17:1-8

The glory of God, and His appearance to the Hebrew people, is often associated with light, fire, and a covering cloud throughout the Old Testament (cf. Exodus 13:1, 24:17, 40:35, Num. 16:42, Deut. 5:24). So too, in the Transfiguration, Jesus’s face shines like the sun, his clothes become white as light, and a bright cloud overshadows the disciples. This is a Revelation of Jesus’ Divinity on the mountain. Because Jesus was God made man, they could see Him face to face. The presence of Moses and Elijah emphasize the fact that this is a revelation of Divine glory. 

“Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.” John 14:9

There is another place where Jesus “meant to pass by” as God passed before Moses and Elijah.

“And when evening came, the boat was out on the sea, and he was alone on the land. And he saw that they were making headway painfully, for the wind was against them. And about the fourth watch of the night he came to them, walking on the sea. He meant to pass by them, but when they saw him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost, and cried out, for they all saw him and were terrified. But immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take heart; it is I. Do not be afraid.” And he got into the boat with them, and the wind ceased.”  Mark 6:47:51

What is usually translated, “it is I” was literally “Ego eimi.” Which is literally, “I am.” Jesus revealed His glory in a more subtle way, showing His power over nature, and He used the Divine Name to reveal Himself.

Objection: “The Father is greater than I.”

Some argue that Jesus can not be God or equal with God, because He said;

“You heard me say to you, ‘I am going away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved me, you would have rejoiced, because I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. And now I have told you before it takes place, so that when it does take place you may believe.” John 14:28-29

Jesus is telling the disciples to rejoice that He is going away, because He goes to the Father. This is a return to His original position of equality with God.

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.” Philippians 2:5-8

When Jesus ascends to the Father, He is returning to a position of equality. As the Divine Son, He is equal to God. In his humanity on earth, He was in a lower position. But now, even in His humanity, Jesus has been exalted to a point of equality with God.

“This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.” Acts 2:32-33

“Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,  and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:10-11

To sit at God’s right hand is a position of equality. If Jesus has the name above every name, He shares the name of the LORD God. 

Objection: Only the Father Knows

Speaking of the last judgement and Jesus’ own return at the end of time, He says;

“But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” Matthew 24:36

and;

“But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” Mark 13:32

The standard answer to this is that Jesus has two natures. Consider the chart below.

Jesus is Divine

Jesus is Human

Carefully concealed in him are all the treasures of wisdom and of knowledge.

Colossians 2:3

But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.

Matthew 24:36

“Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.”

John 21:17

But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

Mark 13:32

All that the Father has is mine John 16:15

For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. Colossians 1:16-17

And [the child] Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.

Luke 2:52

Colossians 1:17 and Luke 2:52 show that Jesus must have two natures. How can he grow in wisdom if He created all things and all things are held together in him? Colossians shows He has all possible knowledge, because all things were created and maintain their existence in Him. Luke shows that He became fully human and could experience growth and learning. Consider Joseph in his carpenter shop instructing the creator of the universe in how to craft wood! That is the humility and the mystery of God made man.

The Greek Church Father St. Basil puts forward a linguistic argument for why Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 don’t mean what they appear to say in translation. St. Basil argues that the meaning of this phrase is actually ambiguous (much like the English word “cleave”  which can have two opposite meanings). A legitimate translation is, “but for the Father” meaning that this knowledge that the Son (and possibly angels) have of that day would not be accessible “except for the Father’s revelation.” Most Church Father’s interpreted it simply as referring to two separate natures, but St. Basil’s observation is noteworthy and grammatically sound. 

Objection: Only God is good

Is Jesus denying His Divinity in the exchange below?

“And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.” Matthew 19:16-22

“And a ruler asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.’” And he said, “All these I have kept from my youth.” When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.” Luke 18:18-23

No one is good except God, so why do you call me “Good Teacher?” Is Jesus denying His Divinity? Remember, this is the same Jesus who says, “ I am the Good Shepherd.” John 10:11. For the Jews, God was their shepherd, recall Psalm 23 “The LORD is my shepherd…” and Ezekiel 34:15, “I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the LORD God.”

 If “good teacher” is a title only appropriate for God, “I am the Good Shepherd” is even more so only appropriate for God.  

So was Jesus claiming to not be a Good Teacher? No. In fact, in this passage he claims to be more than a teacher. Jesus answers the question by saying to keep the commandments. The man answers he has kept these since his youth. Jesus responds saying he lacks something (In Matthew’s account the man asks Jesus what he is still lacking. Also, remember that Jesus left out the commandments about honoring God). Jesus tells him to sell everything he has and then come follow Me. He had kept the commandments about how to treat our fellow man perfectly, but Jesus tells him that in order to be perfect, He must follow Jesus unreservedly. This is something Jews would reserve for God, who told them;

“You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might.” Deuteronomy 6:5

So in fact, Jesus is not denying His goodness or Divinity. He is getting the man to think about what He is saying. He ends up asking the man to give Him total and unreserved devotion, something which belongs to God. These texts actually serve to demonstrate Jesus’ Divinity.

Letter to the Romans

Paul calls Jesus, “the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever.”

“I am speaking the truth in Christ—I am not lying; my conscience bears me witness in the Holy Spirit— that I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh. They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises. To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ, who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen. But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.”” Romans 9:1-7

Some translators who seek to deny the Divinity of Jesus translate it this way;

“To them the forefathers belong, and from them the Christ descended according to the flesh. God, who is over all, be praised forever. Amen.”

The first translation is admitted by scholars to be the most natural rendering. A survey of Bible translations demonstrates this. But the second rendering is possible. Since the earliest Greek manuscripts lack any punctuation, we have to rely on context to know for sure. We can look to the rest of Romans for further context.

In Romans chapter 1 we read,

“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” Romans 1:24-25

Here Paul uses nearly the same expression, “who is blessed forever! Amen.” The phrase refers to the antecedent noun, “the Creator.” If the phrase is used the same way in Romans 9:5 it refers to Christ as the antecedent noun.

Romans 10 applies an Old Testament statement about the LORD God to Jesus Christ.

“And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” Joel 2:32

“if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him. For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”” Romans 10:9-12

“Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.” is a quote from Isaiah 28:16, which references “the stone which the builders rejected.” In the Acts 4:11 Peter says this verse is about Jesus, not the Father. Therefore we can be certain that the immediately following quote in Romans, “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” is also being applied to Jesus.

For St. Paul, Jesus is the LORD, who is God over all.

The First and the Last

It seems appropriate to conclude with a final proof of the Divinity of Jesus Christ taken from the last book of the Bible, Revelation. The Almighty LORD God is the First and the Last.  Jesus is the Almighty LORD God, the First & The Last.

“Who has performed and done this, calling the generations from the beginning?I, the Lord, the first, and with the last; I am he.” Isaiah 41:4

“You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD,“and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. Isaiah 43:10

Note that, “Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me” means that Jesus cannot be a lesser “god” or a created “god.” So John 1:1-3 must mean that the Word is truly God, otherwise, God would be a liar.

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” Isaiah 44:6

““I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”” Revelation 1:8

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.” Revelation 1:17-18

“Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” Revelation 22:12-13

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” Revelation 22:16

“He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” Revelation 22:20

The orthodox Christian teaching is that there is only one God.

God is three distinct persons who share one Divine nature.

The Father is God, the Son is God, the Holy Spirit is God.

The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, and the Holy Spirit is not the Father and is not the Son.

The Son became a man in time. The Son has two complete natures, His original Divine nature and His human nature which He assumed (took) in time.

Jesus is one Divine Person, with a Divine nature and a human nature.

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Relics, Holy Water, and Other “Stuff”

Relics, Holy Water, and Other “Stuff”

Many non-Catholics are scandalized by the physical nature of Catholic life. They view things like relics, holy water, and other sacramentals as either materialistic or superstitious. But Catholics know that from the beginning God looked upon the created world and saw that it was “good.” Since the beginning He has used created things and material rituals for our sanctification, and He has never stopped using them. (Leviticus 17:11, John 9:7) The immaterial uncreated God took flesh in a material and created body for our sakes. We become children of God through the water of baptism, and we are nourished with the true Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Relics

Catholics like to honor the bodies of saints. We like to pray near them, and even touch or kiss pieces of them. We honor them, because God will some day glorify them. (Philippians 3:21)  A non-Catholic may object that these bones or even pieces of clothing can do nothing to save us, only God can. But God can and does act even through these things.

The Bones of Elisha

“And Elisha died, and they buried him. And the bands of the Moabites invaded the land at the coming in of the year. And it came to pass, as they were burying a man, that, behold, they spied a band of men; and they cast the man into the sepulchre of Elisha: and when the man was let down, and touched the bones of Elisha, he revived, and stood up on his feet.” 2 Kings 13:20-21

Handkerchiefs of Paul

“And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:11-12)

The power of God raised a man from the dead through the bones of Elisha. God cured diseases and cast out demons through handkerchiefs and aprons which had touched Paul. Catholics use of relics from the saints is entirely biblical. We even have relics of the saints in our altars as an imitation of the Book of Revelation, where the souls of the martyrs cry out to God from underneath an altar. This was imagery taken from the catacombs of the early Church where mass was offered on the tombs of the martyrs.

Holy Water

Non-Catholics may object that Holy Water is a superstitious practice, but Christ did not condemn the Jews for their faith in the waters of Bethsaida. The New Testament even confirms that it was an angel which stirred the waters.

“Now there is at Jerusalem by the sheep market a pool, which is called in the Hebrew tongue Bethesda, having five porches. In these lay a great multitude of impotent folk, of blind, halt, withered, waiting for the moving of the water. For an angel went down at a certain season into the pool, and troubled the water: whosoever then first after the troubling of the water stepped in was made whole of whatsoever disease he had.”

If God can work miracles through the dead bodies and clothing of his holy people, or an angel stirring up water, how much more so can He work miracles and blessings through the decree of the Church? The Church uses its authority to bless objects such as holy water or other objects, so that the faithful might receive the blessing of the Church through  them. This is why Paul ordered that the sick be anointed with oil.

“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.” (James 5:14-15)

None of this takes away from God’s glory, any more than the miracles wrought by Paul’s handkerchief took away from  God’s glory. God is glorified when He works, even through material things.

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Why Pray to Jesus?

For this article, scriptural references are taken from the New World Translation (NWT), and the Kingdom Interlinear Translation (KIT) of the New Testament, which are both published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Catholics pray to God, and worship the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as one Almighty God. We also pray to the saints, honoring them as our faithful brothers and sisters in Christ, and ask for their own prayers. However, Jehovah’s Witnesses do not pray to Jesus on the grounds that this would be worship. This post will demonstrate that Jesus intended for us to pray to Him, and that the New Testament Christians did just that.

Jesus invites us to pray to Him. 

“Most truly I say to you, whoever exercises faith in me will also do the works that I do; and he will do works greater than these, because I am going my way to the Father. Also, whatever you ask in my name, I will do this, so that the Father may be glorified in connection with the Son. If you ask anything in my name, I will do it.”  (John 14:12-14 NWT)

After telling the apostles that He is going to the Father, Jesus tells them that He will do anything they ask in His name. Verse 14 in the KIT makes it clear that these petitions were intended to be addressed to Jesus.

Ask Me Anything

“If ever you ask me anything in my name this I shall do.”

This was an invitation to the apostles to pray to Him after He goes to the Father. He intended for them to address petitions to Him while He was at the right hand of the Father.

The First Christians Prayed to Jesus

Consider also the following verses.

“Then you must call on the name of your god, and I will call on the name of Jehovah. The God who answers by fire will show that he is the true God.” (1 Kings 18:24 NWT)

“But I called on the name of Jehovah: ‘O Jehovah, rescue me!'”                   (Psalm 116:4 NWT)

These verses demonstrate that to call on the name of the Jehovah is to pray to Him.

“And everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved;”             (Joel 2:32 NWT)

“For everyone who calls on the name of Jehovah will be saved.'”      (Romans 10:13 NWT)

No ancient texts of the Bible exist which include the name  Jehovah in the New Testament, not once in thousands of ancient copies. But every copy of scripture, including the New World Translation, has the first Christians calling on the name of the Lord Jesus.

“Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Sosʹthe·nes our brother, to the congregation of God that is in Corinth, to you who have been sanctified in union with Christ Jesus, called to be holy ones, together with all those everywhere who are calling on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:” (1 Corinthians 1:1-2 NWT)

 The reason is that there is no other name by which we can be saved, and it is the name above all names, because it belongs to Jehovah God.

“Furthermore, there is no salvation in anyone else, for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must get saved.” (Acts 4:12 NWT)

 

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Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Afterlife

For this article, scriptural references are taken from the New World Translation (NWT), and the Kingdom Interlinear Translation (KIT) of the New Testament, which are both published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Ecclesiastes 9:5

Some non-Catholic groups, such as the Jehovah’s Witnesses, teach that there is no afterlife between death and the resurrection.  They believe that we are only composed of a material body, and that the soul is simply a life-force, a breath, which ceases to exist at death. They believe that spirits refer to angels, or to resurrected human beings who do not have their earthly bodies.

They might base this on Ecclesiastes 9:5.

“For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing at all, nor do they have any more reward, because all memory of them is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5 NWT)

This statement may reflect the ancient Jewish understanding of death, because the fullness of revelation had not yet been given. Even at the time of Christ, Jews were divided over the belief in an afterlife and a resurrection.

Regardless, if we go back to verse 9:2 it is clear that no Christian can take this chapter literally.

“All have the very same outcome, the righteous and the wicked, the good and the clean and the unclean, those sacrificing and those not sacrificing. The good one is the same as the sinner; the one who swears an oath is the same as the one who is cautious about swearing an oath.” (Ecclesiastes 9:2 NWT)

No Christian believes that the righteous and the wicked will come to the same end.  The good and the sinner are absolutely not the same. Christ says He will judge the living and the dead and reward them according to their works. Therefore, from a Christian perspective, Ecclesiastes 9 is not an appropriate text on which to base a theology of the afterlife or eschatology.

A Jehovah’s Witness may respond that this wouldn’t take away from the inspired meaning of the text. This is true. But, the inspired purpose of much of the book of Ecclesiastes is to use hyperbole to instill in the reader a sense of the futility of human effort. The book begins, “‘The greatest futility!’ says the congregator, ‘The greatest futility! Everything is futile!’” (Ecclesiastes 1:2 NWT) Is the worship of God really futile?

Jesus uses hyperbole when He says;

“If anyone comes to me and does not hate his father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.” (Luke 14:26 NWT)

Jesus does not want us to hate anyone. The point of this hyperbole is to make the point that every other love must be subordinate in comparison to love of God. Likewise, the dead have consciousness, and life isn’t completely meaningless. But God wants us to see the futility of a mere human life, and the meaninglessness of a life lived without union with God in Christ Jesus.

Furthermore, the author of Ecclesiastes professes his ignorance regarding the nature of life after death. Consider this verse from chapter 3.

I also said in my heart about the sons of men that the true God will test them and show them that they are like animals, for there is an outcome for humans and an outcome for animals; they all have the same outcome. As the one dies, so the other dies; and they all have but one spirit. So man has no superiority over animals, for everything is futile. All are going to the same place. They all come from the dust, and they all are returning to the dust. Who really knows whether the spirit of humans ascends upward, and whether the spirit of animals descends down to the earth? And I saw that there is nothing better than for a man to find enjoyment in his work, because that is his reward;* for who can enable him to see what will happen after he is gone? Ecclesiastes 3:18-22 NWT

The author of Ecclesiastes last word on the subject professes that the spirit does in fact ascend up to God.

Then the dust returns to the earth, just as it was, and the spirit returns to the true God who gave it. Ecclesiastes 12:7

The Belief of the Pharisees 

The first century Jewish historian Josephus wrote of the Pharisees that;

 “They also believe that souls have an immortal rigor in them, and that under the earth there will be rewards or punishments, according as they have lived virtuously or viciously in this life; and the latter are to be detained in an everlasting prison, but that the former shall have power to revive and live again; on account of which doctrines they are able greatly to persuade the body of the people; and whatsoever they do about Divine worship, prayers, and sacrifices, they perform them according to their direction; insomuch that the cities give great attestations to them on account of their entire virtuous conduct, both in the actions of their lives and their discourses also.”  (Antiquities of the Jews, XVIII, Chapter 1, Paragraph 3).

The Teaching of Christ 

Jesus, knowing full well what the Pharisees taught, told the people;

 “The scribes and the Pharisees have seated themselves in the seat of Moses. Therefore, all the things they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds, for they say but they do not practice what they say.” (Matthew 23:3 NWT)

Jesus never condemned the Pharisees for their teaching about immortal souls, and reward and punishment in the afterlife. In fact, He reinforced this teaching with His own teaching in the parable of Lazarus.

“There was a rich man who used to dress in purple and linen, enjoying himself day after day with magnificence. But a beggar named Lazʹarus used to be put at his gate, covered with ulcers and desiring to be filled with the things dropping from the table of the rich man. Yes, even the dogs would come and lick his ulcers. Now in the course of time, the beggar died and was carried off by the angels to Abraham’s side.

“Also, the rich man died and was buried. And in the Grave he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and he saw Abraham from afar and Lazʹarus by his side. So he called and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazʹarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this blazing fire.’ But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you had your fill of good things in your lifetime, but Lazʹarus for his part received bad things. Now, however, he is being comforted here, but you are in anguish. And besides all these things, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you, so that those who want to go over from here to you cannot, neither may people cross over from there to us.’ Then he said, ‘That being so, I ask you, father, to send him to the house of my father, for I have five brothers, in order that he may give them a thorough witness so that they will not also come into this place of torment.’ But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to these.’Then he said, ‘No, indeed, father Abraham, but if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’” (Luke 16:19-31 NWT)

It is clear that Jesus affirmed the Pharisees’ position regarding the afterlife. St. Paul, who was a Pharisee taught that life goes on after death.

St. Paul

We know that St. Paul was a Pharisee.  But St. Paul teaches that even now we are composed of a body, a soul, and a spirit.

“May the God of peace himself sanctify you completely. And may the spirit and soul and body of you brothers, sound in every respect, be preserved blameless at the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ.”                      (1 Thessalonians 5:23 NWT)

St. Paul’s words elsewhere demonstrate that he believed the soul or spirit of man could exist outside of the body. He wrote;

“I know a man in union with Christ who, 14 years ago—whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know; God knows—was caught away to the third heaven. Yes, I know such a man—whether in the body or apart from the body, I do not know; God knows—who was caught away into paradise and heard words that cannot be spoken and that are not lawful for a man to say.” (2 Corinthians 12:2-4 NWT)

This demonstrates that St. Paul recognized the possibility of existing “out of the body,” which means that the soul, spirit, or at least consciousness of a person, can exist without the body.

St. Paul says three times that it is better for Christians to die, because then they can be with Christ.

“But we are of good courage and would prefer to be absent from the body and to make our home with the Lord. So whether at home with him or absent from him, we make it our aim to be acceptable to him. For we must all appear before the judgment seat of the Christ, so that each one may be repaid according to the things he has practiced while in the body, whether good or bad.” (2 Corinthians 5:8-10 NWT)

 “For in my case, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Now if I am to live on in the flesh, this is a fruitage of my work; yet what I would choose, I do not make known. I am torn between these two things, for I do desire the releasing and the being with Christ, which is, to be sure, far better. However, it is more necessary for me to remain in the flesh for your sakes. So, being confident of this, I know I will remain and continue with all of you for your advancement and your joy in the faith, so that your exultation may overflow in Christ Jesus because of me when I am again present with you.” (Philippians 1:21-26 NWT)

“He died for us, so that whether we stay awake or are asleep,* we should live together with him.” (1 Thessalonians 5:10 NWT) (*Or “asleep in death.” NWT’s Footnote)

 

Saint Paul even says that we are surrounded by the dead. We are surrounded by “a great cloud of witnesses.” After listing the examples of holy forefathers in Hebrews 11:1-38 Paul says,

“And yet all of these, although they received a favorable witness because of their faith, did not obtain the fulfillment of the promise, because God had foreseen something better for us, so that they might not be made perfect apart from us. So, then, because we have such a great cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also throw off every weight and the sin that easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, as we look intently at the Chief Agent and Perfecter of our faith, Jesus (Hebrews 11:39 – 12:1 NWT)

When are we made perfect, and when are the faithful deceased made perfect? They are made perfect together. St. Paul spoke of this event in the present tense.

“For it is by one sacrificial offering that he has made those who are being sanctified perfect for all time.” (Hebrews 10:14 NWT)

He goes on in Hebrews 12 to say that;

“But you have approached a Mount Zion and a city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, and myriads of angels in general assembly, and the congregation of the firstborn who have been enrolled in the heavens, and God the Judge of all, and the spiritual lives of righteous ones who have been made perfect, and Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood, which speaks in a better way than Abel’s blood.” (Hebrews 12:22-24 NWT)

 Hebrews KIT 1228

The NWT says that we have approached “the spiritual lives” of the righteous ones who have been made perfect. The Kingdom Interlinear Translation makes it clear that it should read, “the spirits of the righteous having been perfected.” This clearly refers to the same righteous ancestors listed in Hebrews 11, and their perfection has already been accomplished by Christ at the same time we are being perfected by Christ.

1 Peter 3:19 

St. Peter tells us that after He died Christ went to preach to the spirits in prison.

“For Christ died once for all time for sins, a righteous person for unrighteous ones, in order to lead you to God. He was put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit. And in this state he went and preached to the spirits in prison, who had formerly been disobedient when God was patiently waiting in Noah’s day, while the ark was being constructed, in which a few people, that is, eight souls, were carried safely through the water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, is also now saving you (not by the removing of the filth of the flesh, but by the request to God for a good conscience), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 3:18-21 NWT)

Since they do not believe that the dead are conscious, Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that this refers to the Nephilim, whom they believe to be fallen angels. They believe these angels fell by mating with human women in the days of Noah. Here is the relevant passage from Genesis:

“Now when men started to grow in number on the surface of the ground and daughters were born to them, the sons of the true God began to notice that the daughters of men were beautiful. So they began taking as wives all whom they chose. Then Jehovah said: “My spirit will not tolerate man indefinitely, because he is only flesh. Accordingly, his days will amount to 120 years.” The Nephʹilim were on the earth in those days and afterward. During that time the sons of the true God continued to have relations with the daughters of men, and these bore sons to them. They were the mighty ones of old times, the men of fame. Consequently, Jehovah saw that man’s wickedness was great on the earth and that every inclination of the thoughts of his heart was only bad all the time. Jehovah regretted that he had made men on the earth, and his heart was saddened. So Jehovah said: “I am going to wipe men whom I have created off the surface of the ground, man together with domestic animals, creeping animals, and flying creatures of the heavens, for I regret that I have made them.” But Noah found favor in the eyes of Jehovah.” (Genesis 6:1-8 NWT)

Nephilim means fallen ones, but it refers to fallen humans. The idea that the Nephilim were angels who mated with human women is actually an old idea, but it was rejected by both Rabbis and the early church fathers. As we shall see, it was also rejected by Christ.

The idea that Nephilim are angels is based on their title “sons of God.” In the book of Job, most commentators interpret this to mean angels. However, in the genealogy of Luke’s Gospel, Adam is called “son of God.” (Luke 3:38 NWT). In context, Genesis, like the Gospel of Luke, is referring to the ancestry of mankind. The fallen ones refers to the sons of Cain, who were either of great stature and/or great earthly rulers. The sons of God refers to those who were faithful to the worship of God. Genesis 6 is speaking about the corruption of mankind, and how the holy men, “sons of God” were corrupted by marrying sinful descendants of Cain.

Christ confirms this interpretation when He says;

 “For just as the days of Noah were, so the presence of the Son of man will be. For as they were in those days before the Flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they took no note until the Flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.” (Matthew 24:36-39 NWT)

The men and women of Noah’s day were marrying without any thought to their sanctity, and it will be the same way in the end times. Christ does not teach that angels mated with human women. Otherwise, how could they be called sons of God when they are fallen? The sons of Seth can be called sons of God to distinguish them from the sons of Cain, highlighting their corruption overtime.

Christ’s preaching to the spirits in prison, was preaching to the souls who had not heard His gospel. Peter says that the flood washed them and their sins away, just as baptism now wipes away our sins. The spirits of the deceased from Noah’s day had the opportunity to be saved by Christ’s preaching. St. Peter confirms this, when in the next chapter he writes;

“But these people will render an account to the one who is ready to judge those living and those dead. In fact, this is why the good news was declared also to the dead, so that although they are judged in the flesh from the standpoint of men, they might live in harmony with the spirit from God’s standpoint.

Jehovah’s Witnesses try to explain this verse by saying that “the dead” referred to in this instance are not the physically dead who will be resurrected and judged (John 5:28-29 NWT), but those who are spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1). This interpretation does not fit with the text, because it says that “although they are judged in the flesh by the standpoint of men, they might live in harmony with the spirit from God’s standpoint.” Ephesians 2:1 refers to those who were spiritually dead in the past, but were now made alive with Christ. Peter would not describe in the present tense those who are now alive in the spirit as “spiritually dead.” The contrast Peter is drawing is between physical death and spiritual life. Those He preached to are dead in the flesh, yet might be alive in the spirit.

The New Testament makes it clear that between now and the resurrection, the dead are capable of knowing, seeing, experiencing, feeling, and even repenting.” (1 Peter 4:5-6 NWT)

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Celibacy

Some non-Catholic groups accuse Catholics of practicing “a doctrine of demons” (1 Tim 4:3) for having a celibate priesthood and celibate religious orders.  In this article we are going to see how Our Lord and Saint Paul praised celibate life, and answer objections to the celibate priesthood,

Matthew 19:12

“His disciples say unto him: If the case of a man with his wife be so, it is not expedient to marry. Except it be: In the case of fornication, that is, of adultery, the wife may be put away: but even then the husband cannot marry another as long as the wife is living.

Who said to them: All men take not this word, but they to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs, who were born so from their mother’ s womb: and there are eunuchs, who were made so by men: and there are eunuchs, who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven. He that can take, let him take it.” Matthew 19:10-12

In these verses the disciples remark that it is better not to marry. Christ does not correct them, but goes on to say that while some are born eunuchs, there are others who choose to be so for the sake of the kingdom. He that can handle celibacy, let him take it. Christ therefore praises celibacy “for the sake of the kingdom,” and offers it as a way of life that anyone can choose.

1 Corinthians 7:1-9

“Now concerning the thing whereof you wrote to me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. But for fear of fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render the debt to his wife, and the wife also in like manner to the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband. And in like manner the husband also hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud not one another, except, perhaps, by consent, for a time, that you may give yourselves to prayer; and return together again, lest Satan tempt you for your incontinency.

But I speak this by indulgence, not by commandment. For I would that all men were even as myself: but every one hath his proper gift from God; one after this manner, and another after that. But I say to the unmarried, and to the widows: It is good for them if they so continue, even as I. But if they do not contain themselves, let them marry.” (1 Corinthians 7:1-9)

In these verses St. Paul clearly indicates that it is better not to be married. When he encourages them to marry it is “by indulgence, not by commandment.” He would prefer all were unmarried like himself, but this way of life is a “gift from God” that is not given to all. In verses 23-35 of the same chapter St. Paul continues to recommend the celibate way of life.

Objections

A Protestant may object that while Our Lord and Saint Paul praised celibacy, the Church has no right to forbid priests to marry. They will point to three verses in particular. (1 Timothy 3:1-5, 1 Timothy 4:1-5, 1 Corinthians 9:1-5)

1 Timothy 3 & 4

“A faithful saying: if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. It behoveth therefore a bishop to be blameless, the husband of one wife, sober, prudent, of good behaviour, chaste, given to hospitality, a teacher, Not given to wine, no striker, but modest, not quarrelsome, not covetous, but One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all chastity. But if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” (1 Timothy 3:1-5)

“Now the Spirit manifestly saith, that in the last times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to spirits of error, and doctrines of devils, Speaking lies in hypocrisy, and having their conscience seared,  Forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving by the faithful, and by them that have known the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be rejected that is received with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:1-5

In Timothy chapter 3 St. Paul cannot be making it a requirement for a bishop to be married. He is making a limit on the number of times a bishop has been married. We know from 1 Corinthians 7:7 that St. Paul would prefer that everyone were celibate. If he is celibate as an apostle, then surely a bishop could also embrace this higher “gift of God,” celibacy. If it were a strict requirement that a bishop be married, then a married bishop would have to resign if he became a widower.  This is surely not the intended meaning of the verse.

In 1 Timothy 4 St. Paul calls forbidding to marry a doctrine of devils. Is the Roman Catholic practice of a celibate priesthood a doctrine of devils? It cannot be, for no one is forced to become a Roma Catholic priest. Roman Catholic priests take their promises of celibacy voluntarily. It is also not unheard of for priests to be released from their promises or vows and to return to the lay state, and to be married. There are even exceptions where married men are ordained priests. In fact Eastern Catholic priests are usually married.

1 Timothy 5

The practice of taking promises or vows of celibacy is not unheard of in the Church. In 1Timothy 5:9-12, St. Paul speaks of widows being enrolled. These were widows who promised before the community not to marry again, but instead to commit themselves to good works in the community. He forbids younger widows from being enrolled, lest they marry again and bring damnation upon themselves! So in the same epistle where St. Paul speaks of forbidding marriage as being a ‘doctrine of demons,’ he forbids those who have made promises of celibacy from being married.

“Let not a widow be taken into the number under threescore years old, having been the wife of one man. Well reported of for good works; if she have brought up children, if she have lodged strangers, if she have washed the saints’ feet, if she have relieved the afflicted, if she have diligently followed every good work. But the younger widows refuse: for when they have begun to wax wanton against Christ, they will marry; Having damnation, because they have cast off their first faith.” (1 Timothy 5:9-12)

1 Corinthians 9: 1-5

“Am I am not an apostle? Am I not free? Have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? Are not ye my work in the Lord? If I be not an apostle unto others, yet doubtless I am to you: for the seal of mine apostleship are ye in the Lord. Mine answer to them that do examine me is this, Have we not power to eat and to drink? Have we not power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles, and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?” (1 Corinthians 9:1-5)

A non-Catholic may object that it is the right of an apostle or a clergyman to be married based on this verse. There are two things to consider about this verse. Perhaps of secondary importance is a translation issue. The word for wife, used after sister, is gynaika, which can be translated either as wife, or as woman. The traditional Catholic Douay Rheims Bible translates it as woman. The commentary reads;

“…he only speaks of such devout women, as, according to the custom of the Jewish nation, waited upon the preachers of the gospel, and supplied them with necessaries.”

This may or may not be accurate. The context of the verse makes it likely because in this chapter St. Paul is talking about his general welfare as an apostle. He has a right to wages and a helper, but he doesn’t want to put a burden on the community.

There is evidence that St. Peter and other apostles, while once married, had embraced a celibate life to follow Christ.

“Then answered Peter and said unto him, Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall we have therefore? And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name’s sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life. But many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first.” (Matt 19:27-29)

However, even if we grant that St. Peter and other apostles remained married, the Church still has a right to require a celibate priesthood.

In 1Timothy 4:3, St. Paul also calls it a doctrine of demons to forbid the eating of meats, all of which had been declared clean by God (Acts 10:15, Romans 14:20). However, at the Council of Jerusalem, the Church, using the authority to bind and loose given by Christ, forbid the eating of strangled meats and of blood.

“But that we write unto them, that they refrain themselves from the pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.” (Acts 15:20)

Scripture declares that all foods are clean, (Romans 14:20) and yet the early Church forbid the eating of certain meats. Even if the early Church had a married clergy, it is the Church’s right to require celibacy of future clergy.

It is impossible for the Church Christ founded to bind a “doctrine of demons” onto any of her faithful. Therefore we can know that the Catholic practice of celibate priests and religious is not contrary to the gospel, but rather it flows from the Lord and St. Paul’s praise of the celibate life.

 

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Baptism in Scripture

What does scripture say about Baptism?

“Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” Romans 6:3-5

Romans 6 says that baptism makes us participants in the death of Christ, so that we might ‘walk in newness of life’ and share in resurrection.

“But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Titus 3:4-5

Titus chapter 3 says that Christ saves us not by works of our own righteousness, but by ‘the washing of regeneration,’ that we are justified by grace and come to possess the hope of eternal life.

“In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, having been buried with him in baptism, in which you were also raised with him through faith in the powerful working of God, who raised him from the dead. And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:11-5

Colossians chapter 2 says that baptism corresponds to the circumcision of the Old Testament. This indicates that baptism can be given to children. Also Colossians 2 says that baptism brings about the forgiveness of sins.

“…God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.” 1 Peter 3:20-22

 1 Peter 3:21 says plainly that, “Baptism now saves you.” 1 Peter 3:20 again shows that baptism cleanses the soul.

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Mary in Scripture

Learn the Faith is not responsible for this video, but we recommend it highly!

We’ve reproduced the relevant scripture verses in the order of their appearance in the video below! Enjoy!

Genesis & John Comparisons

Genesis 1:1 & John 1:1Genesis 1:5 & John 1:5Genesis 1:2 & John 1:32-33

John 1:29 Day 2, John 1:35 Day 3, John 1:43 Day 4, John 2:1 Day 7,

Mary as “the Woman”

Genesis 2:23, John 2:4, John 19:25-27,

Genesis 3:15 & Revelation 12:17, Genesis 3:20

Mary as the New Ark

Exodus 25:11-21,

Exodus 2:34 & Luke 1:352 Samuel 6:9 & Luke 1:43, 2 Samuel 6:17 & Luke 1:44,

2 Samuel 6:11 & Luke 1:56

1 Chronicles 15 & 16

Psalm 132:8

Queenship in the Davidic Kingdom and Christ’s

Luke 1:32, 1 Kings 2:17-20, 2 Chronicles 15&16, 2 Chronicles 22:10, Jeremiah 29:2, 1 Kings 2:17-19, John 2:5

 

 

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Why Does the Catholic Bible Have 73 Books?

The Catholic Church has 73 books in its Bible. Protestants only have 66. Some Protestants think that it was the Catholic Church that “added” to the Bible, and that the seven books they don’t accept are “apocryphal.” The truth of the matter is that those seven books were always accepted by Christians, and that Martin Luther dropped the books because they did not correspond with his theology. These books are referred to by Catholics as the “deuterocanonicals.”

First what does apocrypha mean? It comes from the Greek word, “apocryphos” which means, “obscure.” To call a book apocryphal means that the book has dubious or “obscure” origins. The word has also developed the connotation of a book having heretical or false content.

The first Christians used the Greek Old Testament called the “Septuagint,” which includes the seven books that Protestants don’t have. The Septuagint has its origins ca. 70BC in Alexandria, Egypt. The Jewish diaspora lived scattered throughout the Mediterranean world and spoke Greek as their main language. So in Alexandria seventy Jewish scholars gathered. According to tradition they separated themselves each into their own room to translate the scriptures from Hebrew to Greek. After seventy days they each finished, to find that they had all translated the text with exactly the same Greek words. The work was considered miraculous. Septuagint means “seventy,” because in 70 BC, 70 scholars translated the Old Testament in 70 days.

For centuries critics in Protestantism, Judaism, and secular academia, held the Septuagint suspect because it had phrases and text not found in the Jewish Masoretic texts of the middle ages, which were assumed to be more faithful to the ancient Hebrew. But the Septuagint was largely vindicated by the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls. The Hebrew texts found among the Dead Sea scrolls pre-date Christ, and more closely match the Greek Septuagint than the medieval Masoretic texts.

(At the bottom of this page there are a series of links to a documentary about the history of the Bible, which discusses the Septuagint in detail.)

Martin Luther did not like seven books in the Catholic Old Testament, so he dropped them from his Bible. One of the reasons he dropped the books is because the books of Macabees record Jewish practices that have been continued by Catholics, such as praying for dead, which is strong evidence for the doctrine of Purgatory. Luther justified dropping the books by appealing to the Jewish tradition. The Jewish canon, likely codified around the year 100 at the Council of Jamnia, does not have the seven books rejected by Luther. They were rejected by the Jews either because they were not written in Hebrew, or because ancient Hebrew texts were no longer extant. It also very well may have been because they so clearly pointed to Christianity.

Who can read Wisdom chapter 2, written in 300 BC, and not see a clear prophecy of Christ. What Christian can deny it was inspired by the Holy Spirit?

“Let us therefore lie in wait for the just, because he is not for our turn, and he is contrary to our doings, and upbraideth us with transgressions of the law, and divulgeth against us the sins of our way of life. He boasteth that he hath the knowledge of God, and calleth himself the son of God. He is become a censurer of our thoughts. He is grievous unto us, even to behold: for his life is not like other men’s, and his ways are very different. We are esteemed by him as triflers, and he abstaineth from our ways as from filthiness, and he preferreth the latter end of the just, and glorieth that he hath God for his father. Let us see then if his words be true, and let us prove what shall happen to him, and we shall know what his end shall be.  For if he be the true son of God, he will defend him, and will deliver him from the hands of his enemies.  Let us examine him by outrages and tortures, that we may know his meekness and try his patience. Let us condemn him to a most shameful death: for there shall be respect had unto him by his words. These things they thought, and were deceived: for their own malice blinded them.”  (Wisdom 2:12-21)

We can also know that Christians should accept the Deuterocanonical books because Paul refers to them. In Hebrews 11 Paul refers back to the miracles of the Old Testament.

” Women received back their dead, raised to life again. There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.” Hebrews 11:35

The first part of this which speaks of the dead being raised to life again refers to instances in 1Kings 17:22, and 2Kings 4:36.

But the second part of the verse refers to events recorded in 2 Maccabees 7:1-42.

“There were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection.” Hebrews 11:35

 “So bending herself towards him, mocking the cruel tyrant, she said in her own language: My son, have pity upon me, that bore thee nine months in my womb, and gave thee suck three years, and nourished thee, and brought thee up unto this age. I beseech thee, my son, look upon heaven and earth, and all that is in them: and consider that God made them out of nothing, and mankind also: So thou shalt not fear this tormentor, but being made a worthy partner with thy brethren, receive death, that in that mercy I may receive thee again with thy brethren. While she was yet speaking these words, the young man said: For whom do you stay? I will not obey the commandment of the king, but the commandment of the law, which was given us by Moses.”  (2 Maccabees 7:27-30)

 Another Catholic website has a great compilation of verses which show parallels or references to the deuterocanonical books in the New Testament.  Rather than reinvent the wheel, go check out Scripture Catholic’s list.

Now as promised a great documentary on the History of the Bible we found posted at gloria.tv

Where Did We Get the Bible?

Part I http://gloria.tv/?media=37209

Part II http://gloria.tv/?media=37260

Part III http://gloria.tv/?media=37262

Part IV http://gloria.tv/?media=37268

Part V http://gloria.tv/?media=37269

Part VI http://gloria.tv/?media=37296

Part VII http://gloria.tv/?media=37299

Part VIII http://gloria.tv/?media=37506

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Call No Man Father

Call No Man Father?

In Matthew chapter 23 Christ condemns the Pharisees for their hypocrisy and vainglory. Many non-Catholics point to verse 9 to condemn Catholics for calling priests by the title of “father.” Let’s look at Matthew 23:8-12.

“But be not called  Rabbi. For one is your master: and all are your brethren. And call none your father upon earth; for one is your father, who is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master, Christ. He that is the greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled: and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

The Catholic Church understands these verses, not as Christ strictly prohibiting the use of titles, but rather a warning about the dangers of vainglory and pride that poisoned the Pharisees. Father, master, and teacher, are not titles that a man should lightly take upon himself.  That being said, we know from other verses from scripture that Christ did not mean to prohibit the use of these titles all together.  In the inspired word of God, Paul wrote:

“I do not write this to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children. For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” I Corinthians 4:14-15

John referred to his disciples as his children,

“No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth.” 3 John 1:4

Even in the Gospels, Christ referred to Abraham as father. (Luke 16) In Acts 7:2 Stephen refers to the assembled Jewish leaders as fathers, and again to Abraham as father of them all. There are countless examples in scriptures of the title of father being applied to men, both in the New and Old Testaments.

Those who are truly fathers, either in a biological or a spiritual sense can rightly be called father. Bearing in mind Christ’s warning, the one who is given that title ought to receive it in a spirit of humility. Their fatherhood is a gift, a sharing in God’s fatherhood, of which they are unworthy to participate.

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