Christianity, faith

Las otras ovejas del pastor

Estoy seguro de que este artículo crujirá la pluma de la mayoría de las denominaciones de la cristiandad. Que así sea, pero hay que decirlo. Y escuchen bien. Ninguna denominación tiene la totalidad de la fe. Incluso la Iglesia Católica, que tiene la mayor parte, carece de algunas cosas que se muestran como partes de la fe en las Escrituras. Y si los cristianos han de ser tomados en serio, debemos recordar que debemos dejar de pelearnos entre nosotros.

Para mostrar este punto, vi un documental sobre Jerusalén hace décadas. Una parte del mismo se me quedó grabada y muestra las fracturas dentro de la comunidad cristiana. Las iglesias de varias partes de Tierra Santa están vigiladas por católicos y ortodoxos (en general). En la iglesia del Santo Sepulcro, el patriarca ortodoxo y el obispo católico se enzarzaron en una acalorada discusión. En un momento dado, el Patriarca gritó “al diablo con tu dios”. Lo cual me pareció, incluso entonces, indignante. La mayoría de los cristianos (dependiendo de las enseñanzas y la doctrina de los que se dicen cristianos) adoran al mismo Dios por medio de Cristo en el poder del Espíritu Santo. Por lo tanto, voy a tratar de arrojar algo de luz en mi introducción.

Si usted leyó mi último artículo, me identifiqué como evangélico católico. Y pasé a explicar por qué. Así que para entender este artículo, y la razón de lo que hay en él desde mi perspectiva, hay que ir a leer ese. Así que, enciendan sus antorchas, tomen sus horcas y piedras. Porque este artículo sólo hará una de dos cosas. O te hará gritar por mi lapidación o te hará querer investigar la plenitud de la fe cristiana.

Aquí hay una pequeña historia para aquellos que dicen que las iglesias católica romana y ortodoxa están equivocadas por las tradiciones. Muchas denominaciones protestantes todavía leen los Padres Apostólicos y los padres de la Iglesia que escribieron antes del evento de Lutero. Y si los leen, defenderán las enseñanzas de la Iglesia Católica. Dicho esto, soy católico por las enseñanzas de las Escrituras sobre la Verdadera Presencia de Jesús en la Eucaristía. Cuerpo, Sangre, Alma y Divinidad. Y debe ser tomado como tal, porque nuestro Salvador Jesús el Cristo lo dijo. En Juan 6:53-59 Jesús dijo estas palabras (y para la gente de la Escritura solamente, aquí está) “Entonces Jesús les dijo: De cierto, de cierto os digo, que si no coméis la carne del Hijo del Hombre, y no bebéis su sangre, no tenéis vida en vosotros. El que come mi carne y bebe mi sangre, tiene vida eterna; y yo lo resucitaré en el último día. Porque mi carne es verdadera comida, y mi sangre es verdadera bebida. El que come mi carne y bebe mi sangre, habita en mí, y yo en él. Como el Padre viviente me ha enviado, y yo vivo por el Padre, así el que me come, vivirá por mí. Este es el pan que ha bajado del cielo; no como vuestros padres que comieron el maná, y están muertos; el que coma de este pan vivirá para siempre.Estas cosas decía en la sinagoga, mientras enseñaba en Cafarnaúm.”

He escrito sobre otros aspectos de la fe en la Iglesia Católica Romana, y seguiré haciéndolo. Pero para mí, la Eucaristía es el punto principal de esta parte de mi fe. Sentarse de verdad a la comida del Señor, como Él pretendía. Hay un par de otras denominaciones que creen de la misma manera, tal vez no de la misma manera litúrgica, pero la presencia real.

Pero otras denominaciones tienen áreas de fe como se prescribe en los Evangelios que los católicos no tienen. Los ortodoxos dirigen sus iglesias como lo hicieron los Apóstoles. Un Obispo (Patriarca) sobre cada grupo. Todos ellos creen en la ortodoxia pero tienen una cabeza de cada iglesia (Antioquía, Damasco, Rusia, Grecia, Ucrania, etc). La Santa Sede (Papa) es el Obispo de Roma. Pero también tiene una posición más alta como líder de la fe dada a sus predecesores todo el camino de vuelta a Simón Pedro. Él era el Apóstol principal. Desde que los Apóstoles transmitieron su autoridad, por así decirlo, a los que vinieron después, como hacen todos los pastores cuando se retiran o pasan a mejor vida (Lester Sumerall a Rod Parsley, Billy Graham a Franklin Graham, etc). Este derecho de sucesión en realidad se remonta a los antiguos israelitas cuando la autoridad del Templo y de las Sinagogas pasaba a una persona para dirigir al pueblo en la fe.

Ahora, vienen los grupos que tienen su nacimiento fuera de la reforma. Hay algunas denominaciones que tienen muy pocos cambios desde Roma. Los grupos que mencionaré tienen partes específicas de la creencia apostólica que los católicos romanos parecen no tener. Y aquí, no debatiré ni discutiré las áreas con las que encuentro problemas bíblicos, sino que señalaré las partes de su creencia con las que estoy de acuerdo.

Para los evangélicos esto es fácil. He visto el poder de la imposición de manos y las oraciones por los enfermos, echando fuera demonios, y creo en la capacidad de edificación a través de las lenguas angélicas (aunque la mayoría no sigue las reglas establecidas para su presencia). Los evangélicos tienen la parte maravillosa de la fe comúnmente conocida como seguimiento de los suspiros. Estos son bíblicos. (Juan 16:14-20) “Después se apareció a los once mismos, mientras estaban sentados a la mesa; y les reprochó su incredulidad y dureza de corazón, porque no habían creído a los que le habían visto después de resucitar. Y les dijo: “Id por todo el mundo y predicad el Evangelio a toda la creación. El que haya creído y se haya bautizado se salvará; pero el que no haya creído se condenará. Estas señales acompañarán a los que hayan creído: en mi nombre expulsarán demonios, hablarán nuevas lenguas; cogerán serpientes, y si beben algún veneno mortal, no les hará daño; impondrán las manos a los enfermos, y sanarán.” Entonces, cuando el Señor Jesús les hubo hablado, fue recibido en el cielo y se sentó a la derecha de Dios. Y ellos salieron a predicar por todas partes, mientras el Señor colaboraba con ellos, y confirmaba la palabra con las señales que se producían.”

Los Adventistas del Séptimo Día (SDA de los cuales fui antes de ser confirmado en la Iglesia Católica) entienden la necesidad de que los cristianos también crean en las raíces judías de la fe cristiana. Siguen las leyes dietéticas, celebran el Shabat, etc. Juan también habló de estas cosas en la Isla de Patmos. (Apocalipsis 14:12) “Aquí está la paciencia de los santos; aquí están los que guardan los mandamientos de Dios y la fe de Jesús”.

La razón por la que traigo a colación esta parte de la doctrina ASD es porque la mayoría de los cristianos olvidan que Jesús y los Apóstoles eran judíos. Ellos siguieron la tradición, la fe, y cuando Jesús habló, enseñó y predicó, fue a través de la fundación de la fe de los Patriarcas (Abraham, Isaac y Jacob). No condenó su fe como judío. Pidió cuentas a los que enseñaban y gobernaban a través de la letra de la ley y olvidaban el espíritu de la ley. Hay que recordar, que Él celebraba las fiestas (la mayoría de sus momentos más pronunciados en los Evangelios fue alrededor de la época de una fiesta).

Esta también es una razón por la que empecé a estudiar la fe judía de mi Salvador. Porque Él y sus seguidores eran judíos. Y si realmente se estudian los Evangelios y el Apocalipsis a la luz de las Escrituras Judías (el Antiguo Testamento o Tanach) se vería que sólo las leyes del sacrificio se terminaron con Su venida. El ceremonial terminó pero el resto permaneció. Esto es evidente cuando se mira la construcción y colocación de los Mandamientos y leyes. Los Mandamientos estaban en el Arca mientras que las leyes estaban fijadas fuera del Arca. Pero escribiré sobre eso en una fecha posterior.

Cada denominación de la cristiandad olvida 2 declaraciones de Cristo cuando tratan de demostrar que son los únicos cristianos “verdaderos”. Y terminaré este artículo con esas declaraciones.

Juan 10:16 “Y tengo otras ovejas que no son de este redil; también a ellas debo traer, y oirán mi voz; y habrá un solo redil, y un solo pastor.”

Lucas 9:49-50 ” Respondiendo Juan, dijo: “Maestro, hemos visto a uno que echaba los demonios en tu nombre, y se lo prohibimos porque no sigue con nosotros. Pero Jesús le dijo: “No se lo prohibáis, porque el que no está contra nosotros está de nuestra parte”.

Standard
Christianity, faith

The Shepard’s Other Sheep

I’m sure that this article will rustle the feather of most denominations in Christendom. So be it, but it needs to be said. And listen close. Not one denomination has the wholeness of the faith. Even the Catholic Church, which has most of it, lacks a few things that are shown as parts of the faith in Scripture. And if Christians are to be taken seriously, we must remember to quit fighting amongst ourselves.

To show this point, I watched a documentary on Jerusalem decades ago. Part of it stuck with me and shows the fractures within the Christian community. The churches in various parts of the Holy Land  are watched over by Catholics and Orthodox (generally). At the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Orthodox Patriarch and the Catholic Bishop got into a heated shouting match. At one point, the Patriarch yelled ‘to hell with your god’. Which I though even then was outrageous. Most Christians (depending on the teachings and doctrine of those saying they are Christians) worship the same God through Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. So, I’m going to try and shed some light on my introduction.

If you read my last article, I identified myself as Evangelically Catholic. And I went on to explain why. So to understand this article, and my reason for what is in it from my perspective, one needs to go read that one. So, let your torches be lit, grab your pitchforks and stones. Because this article will do only one of two things. It will either make you cry out for my stoning or it will make you want to investigate the fullness of the Christian faith.

Here is a small history for those that say the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches are wrong because of traditions. Many Protestant denominations still read the Apostolic Fathers and the Church fathers that wrote prior to the Luther event. And if you read them, they will uphold the teachings of the Catholic Church. That being said, I am Catholic because of the Scriptural teachings of the True Presence of Jesus in the Eucharist. Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity. And it must be taken as such, because our Savior Jesus the Christ said so. In John 6:53-59 Jesus spoke these words (and for Scripture alone people, here it is) “Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread shall live for ever.These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in Capernaum.

I have written on other aspects of faith in the Roman Catholic Church, and will continue to do so. But for me, the Eucharist is the main point of this part of my faith. To truly sit at the Lord’s meal as He intended. There are a couple other denominations that believe the same way, maybe not in the same liturgical manner, but the real presence.

But other denominations have areas of faith as prescribed in the Gospels that Catholics don’t have. The Orthodox run their churches like the Apostles did. A Bishop (Patriarch) over each group. These all believe Orthodoxy but Have a head of each church (Antioch, Damascus, Russia, Greece, Ukraine, etc). The Holy See (Pope) is the Bishop of Rome. But he also holds a higher position as the leader of faith given to his predecessors all the way back to Simon Peter. He was the lead Apostle. Since the Apostles handed down their authority, so to speak on those that came after, like all pastors do when they retire or pass on (Lester Sumerall to Rod Parsley, Billy Graham to Franklin Graham, etc). This right of succession actually goes back to the ancient Israelites when authority of the Temple and Synagogues would be passed to one person to lead the people in faith.

Now, comes the groups that have their birthing out of the reformation. There are a few denominations that have very little changes from Rome. The groups I will mention have specific parts of Apostolic belief that Roman Catholics seem not to. And here, I will not debate nor discuss the areas that I find scriptural issue with but instead point out the parts of their belief that I agree with.

For Evangelicals this is an easy one. I have seen the power of the laying on hands and prayers for the sick, casting out demons, and believe in the ability for edification through angelic tongues (although most don’t follow the rules set forth for their presence). Evangelicals have the wondrous part of faith commonly known as sighs following. These are scriptural. (John 16:14-20) Afterward He appeared to the eleven themselves as they were reclining at the table; and He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen. And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved; but he who has disbelieved shall be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed.

The Seventh Day Adventists (SDA of which I was prior to being confirmed into the Catholic Church) understands the need for Christians to also believe in the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. They follow the dietary laws, celebrate Shabbat, etc. John also spoke of these things on the Isle of Patmos. (Revelation 14:12) “Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.

The reason I bring up this part of SDA doctrine is because most Christians forget that Jesus and the Apostles were Jewish. They followed tradition, the faith, and when Jesus talked, taught, and preached, it was through the founding of the faith of the Patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob). He didn’t condemn his faith as a Jew. He called to account those that taught and ruled through the letter of the law and forgot the spirit of the law. You have to remember, He celebrated the feasts (most of his most pronounced moments in the Gospels was around the time of a feast).

This also a reason I started to study the Jewish faith of my Savior. Because He and his followers were Jewish. And if you truly study the Gospels and Revelation in light of the Jewish Scriptures (the Old Testament or Tanach) you would see that only the laws of sacrifice were ended by His coming. The ceremonial ended but the rest stayed. This is evident when you look at the construction and placement of Commandments and laws. The Commandments were in the Ark while the laws were attached out side of the Ark. But I’ll write about that at a later date.

Every denomination of Christendom forget 2 statements of Christ when they try to prove that they are the only “true” Christians. And I will end this article with those statements.

John 10:16 “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”

Luke 9:49-50 “ Now John answered and said, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name, and we forbade him because he does not follow with us. But Jesus said to him, “Do not forbid him, for he who is not against us is on our side.

Standard
Christianity, Current events, faith

Eucharistic Miracles…The True Presence of Christ

“And whilst they were at supper, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke: and gave to his disciples, and said: Take ye, and eat. This is my body. And taking the chalice, he gave thanks, and gave to them, saying: Drink ye all of this. For this is my blood of the new testament, which shall be shed for many unto remission of sins.” (John 26:26-28)

 ”I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever; and the bread that I will give, is my flesh, for the life of the world. The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying: How can this man give us his flesh to eat? Then Jesus said to them: Amen, amen I say unto you: Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you shall not have life in you. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath everlasting life: and I will raise him up in the last day.” (John 6:51-55)

The Holy Eucharist is the main focus for Catholics and Orthodox. These are the two groups of the Christian faith that fully believe in the actual presence of the body/blood/soul/divinity of Jesus Christ in the communion bread and wine. Most of Christendom believes that Communion is only a representative rite and not a literal one. But if you read the words of Christ in John 6, you will see that Christ did not present it as only bread. And for those that say they believe Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone) then they lie if they don’t believe the words of Christ himself.

In a 2019 Pew Research Poll (https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/08/05/transubstantiation-eucharist-u-s-catholics/) an amazing 69% of modern Catholics in the US believe more as Protestants, that the Eucharist is only a representation of Christ. The poll goes on to show that a huge percentage either do not believe the church’s teaching or do not even know what the church teaches. This issue is because of the cultural shift within the Catholic church. A loss of belief in the teachings of the church (despite biblical backing) in seminary, CCD, and RCIA.

Some would argue that the Real Presence is a concoction of the Catholic Church. However, those people would be in error. This teaching continued with the original Apostles since they taught the teachings of Christ. We can see within the earliest followers of Christianity (or known as The Way back in their time).

Ignatius of Antioch (a Syrian) was the third Bishop of Antioch around the year 110 AD (CE). He was a father and writer of the early church. He wrote “I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the Bread of God, WHICH IS THE FLESH OF JESUS CHRIST, who was of the seed of David; and for drink I DESIRE HIS BLOOD, which is love incorruptible. (Letter to the Romans7:3)

Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: FOR THERE IS ONE FLESH OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, and one cup IN THE UNION OF HIS BLOOD; one ALTAR, as there is one bishop with the presbytery… (Letter to the  Philadelphians 4:1)

They [i.e. the Gnostics] abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that THE EUCHARIST IS THE FLESH OF OUR SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST, flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in his goodness, raised up again. (Letter to Smyrnians 7:1)

This was agreed with by others of his era in the faith. So it can be seen that belief in the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist dates back to the earliest periods of the Christian church.

In the 13th session of the Council of Trent in 1551 (https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/thirteenth-session-of-the-council-of-trent-1479), the Council fully recognized the Real Presence in the Eucharist. Chapter 1 states in part “First of all, the holy council teaches and openly and plainly professes that after the consecration of the bread and wine, our Lord Jesus Christ, e God and true man, is truly, really, and substantially contained in the august sacrament of the Holy Eucharist under the appearance of those sensible things”.

This brings us to the nature of this article. Eucharistic miracles that aid in the faith of the believer. To start this, I would like to point out that one of the Evangelical movements most prominent pastors Benny Hinn has spoken on the Eucharist and its miracle ability. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1vyfWeVAbyw) In a message to his followers, he stated that study had shown that more people are cured in the Catholic Church than in Pentecostal churches. He attributes this to the Catholic faith of the Real Presence in the Eucharist. He even goes on to admit that Christ did not say the bread and wine were symbols, but body and blood. He speaks of the healing, end of demon possession, etc. And believes himself of the True Presence in the Eucharist. Which actually makes one wonder why he is not Catholic.

The first Eucharistic miracle that is mentioned here is the most recent. In the town of Zapotlanejo, Mexico at the Our Lady of the Rosary Parish, a Eucharistic miracle took place. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IeVx6NT2FFw) On July 22, 2022 the Host was being viewed during service. At some point during the service, the Host appeared to be beating. This was eventually captured on a cell phone. When discovered, a doctor that was attending service investigated and stated that the rhythm of the beat was that of a human heart. It was notice by many including a visiting priest, Fr. Carlos Spahn who had opened the adoration service after Mass. As of this article, the Archdiocese of Guadalahara has not made a statement.

Father Spahn also stated that just before this event took place, a photograph of the first millennial born person on his way to sainthood, Blessed Carlos Acutis, was leaking an oil. Blessed Acutis is a young computer wizard from England (Italian by blood) that fell in love with the Eucharist and spread the message of it’s power in the faith.

Another Eucharistic miracle is elated to Blessed Acutis. In 2006 in the town of Tixtla in Mexico, a Eucharistic Host started to appear to bleed. After a few years of research, it was determined that blood was real and the same type of a former Eucharistic miralce in Italy and blood remnants from the Shroud of Turin. ( https://thecatholictravelguide.com/destinations/mexico/tixtla-mexico-eurcharistic-miracle-of-tixtla/)

Two miracles of the same type took place in a church in Guatemala. In both 2021 and 2022, immediately after the Host had been consecrated, the Host started to glow. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D2lQWS4HvOM)

There are multiple verified accounts of Eucharistic miracles. From the aforementioned to others where there were healings and the Host becoming human flesh. One could write this things off if it were a few number of people or only a few times. But it has occurred in multiple time periods, multiple geographical locations and witnessed by small crowds and large.

Even if one is a skeptic, logic would dictate that the unexplainable is happening. For others, it is proof that Christ is truly and physically present in the consecrated Host. Yes, there have been miracles of all types proven false. But it is those that can not be debunked through any logical means of investigation that one must ponder the reality of the Real Presence.

The greatest miracles of these events is not the miracles of the Host, but the personal changes in witnesses. Whether it is bringing the faithful to a better walk with Christ, bringing those that left back, or bringing the lost to a point of accepting Christ’s invitation to Salvation through Him. The real miracle is that these events touch the human heart.

Standard
Uncategorized

Catholic is Christian part 2: Paradox Christian

This is going to be a two-fold piece. First it will correct some misunderstandings of the Catholic faith. It was also show not all Catholics are alike. So hang on for a roller coaster ride.

My last post on Catholic faith was a reasoning on the Rosary. In it I defined why the Catholic Christians do it, the biblical understanding behind it, and the way it is done. This posting will look at devotions, such as the Rosary, in a broad form.

Devotions, such as the Rosary, chaplets, the Divine Office, Adoration, etc are all ways that those of the Catholic denomination allow themselves to enter into communion with God. To Catholics, these are the same as study of the scriptures, daily devotionals,etc.

Here is the main misunderstanding. They are not required or forced by the Church. They are a take it or leave it type of thing. There is no punishment attached for not doing them. I personally do very few devotions. I will do the Rosary, although I am starting to do the Jesus prayer beads more often. I do the Divine office daily, because the Divine office is just multiple daily psalms and readings (reading your bible and a good book).

Another misunderstanding is believing that we take the word of the Pope as law. There is only one point in time when that is required. This is when the Pope speaks Ex Cathedra (from the Seat of Peter) which is only about Doctrine and Dogma and has not  been done since Pope Pius X in the 1950’s. Yes, the Pope may write encyclicals, but like any other writings, they can be taken or not taken.

The first statement of this piece listed two objectives. Correcting misunderstandings, and that has been done, although no to extent. So what is the not alike part of the statement about? Here’s the roller coaster.

I do not adhere to every doctrine of the Catholic Church. Nor did I adhere to the whole doctrine and dogma of Protestant denominations. Let me explain before you, the reader, says that statement ‘he picks and chooses’. No, I don’t. I do not adhere to doctrine and dogma that is not supported by the Holy Scripture.

All denominations bend their view a bit on varying doctrine’s of the faith. Here’s a main Protestant one for those of Pentecostal and Charismatic beliefs. The speaking in tongues. The speaking in tongues within these denominations and movements believe that the sign of baptism in the Holy Spirit is speaking in tongues. This comes from the verses that speak of the Disciples on the day of Pentecost. However, seeing that each person that heard understood the Disciples in their own language, it has to be assumed that only means that the Disciples spoke a foreign and known language that they did not know how to speak. Not some ‘Angelic tongue’.

Now the bible does speak of an angelic tongue, but it does come with rules. There either must be an interpreter or the speaker needs to refrain or go to another area until the utterance is done. The ‘angelic tongue’ is strictly for teaching and edifying the church. Hence the need for an interpreter.

While diverse tongues is one of the nine gifts of the spirit, this is a reference of the immediate change of language through the power of the Spirit so that someone of an unknown language may understand. This is also the job of another gift, interpretation of tongues. While, angelic tongue is real, that is not what the majority of verses speaks of. I’ll write later about ‘angelic tongue’ being the proof of the holy spirit and its origins as we now understand them.

Likewise, in the Catholic faith, there are dogmas and doctrine that are not biblical based (and determined at varying points of the last two thousand plus years. Such as Purgatory. The Church uses verses such as ‘prayers of the dead’ to justify this doctrine. However, the Old Testament tells us that the dead know nothing. This doctrine ties into limbo for those who die without reaching an age of understanding and without baptism.

This concept was reversed by the Protestants. Instead of a place to finish cleaning away sin, the immortal ‘dead’ immediately go to Heaven or Hell upon death depending on the state of their soul. This I also have a problem with. If there was the immediate transport to one or the other at time of death, why would there need to be a resurrection of the DEAD?

The first resurrection actually happened. Don’t believe me? Read the varying texts of the Crucifixion. When Christ was Crucified, some of the dead came out of their graves. That aside, If I’m dead and immediately transferred to Heaven, going back to the grave to be resurrected at the coming of the Lord would be a huge waste of time. In turn, if the evil are in hell at time of death, why the need for the White Throne Judgment? Hell is the place of punishment after that judgment takes place. See how illogical that would be? Why would Christ force you to be removed from eternal happiness with Him just to have you return to the grave and be resurrected again?

Neither purgatory (place of removing all sin because apparently the Cross did not do enough’ nor immediate heaven/hell (place of reward or punishment) make any sense. And do not say God is mysterious in His ways. Yes, He is. But He also gave His word (Holy Scripture), the ability to discern through the power of the Holy Spirit, and a brain to think things through.

Another thing I do not adhere to is the concept that a priest is needed for forgiveness. Do I go to a priest in the confessional? Yes, a couple items a year.  BUT, after having repented and having been forgiven by God through the Cross of Christ. I go to the priest because everyone needs to hear they are forgiven from time to time.

If you do something to a loved one or friend, or even someone you don’t know, and you repent, hearing those words lifts a pressure from you heart. You can feel the relief. If it is someone who you know has forgiven you, but you you do not hear it, it can play on your mind until you hear the words. To me (and I don’t know the thoughts of many other Catholics on it) that’s why I go. I know God has forgiven me, sometimes, its just nice to have that spoken assurance.

Another is that Mary, Mother of Jesus (GOD), was born without original sin. This I do not believe. Bible contradicts that theory. The Scriptures tell us through Adam came sin. Everyone born beyond that point (when BOTH) Adam and Eve messed up, that sin was now perpetual in man until the day of his being born again. I do believe, the by accepting the will of God to be the mother of the Christ, she was made holy and without sin at that point. But born without it, nope.

I am not a typical Catholic because I am not a typical anything. I was saved and baptized in the Seventh Day Advent Church. And before you say anything, they are Christian too. I may write about that sometime in the future. I was Confirmed into the Catholic Church in 1999, three years after I was saved.

In between 1996 and 1999, I have felt the presence of the Holy Ghost (Spirit). I have witnessed miracle instant healings, even after becoming Catholic. I believe there are still prophets and dreamers. I still keep with me, certain parts of my non-Catholic Christianity. Why? Because I know the power thereof. I know the signs following and believe them. I also believe in the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity in the Holy Eucharist (Communion).  I have felt the presence just as much taking communion as I have with the laying on off hands.

No one denomination has the whole truth. It has become a bit skewed because of the edicts and thoughts of man. We, as Christians, must remember that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, covered and washed by the blood shed at the Cross. Yes, we will have difference of opinion. But the one thing to remember is that Christ Himself said that there were followers and believers other than the Apostles.

The Bible has a few people that believed but were not walking with the people of God. Melchizedek was a priest and king of God when he met Abram. The Centurion at the Cross was not a follower of Jesus but believed.

A person’s walk with God is personal. The Church he attends is public. The fruits he shows are from the first, not that latter. Just because you are not Catholic does not mean you are not saved. Just as not speaking in tongues does not mean you have not been touched by the Holy Ghost.

We as  the body of Christ are too busy missing one of the most important teachings of Holy Scripture. God corrected Samuel the Prophet as He now corrects us. But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart. (1Samuel 16:7)So, I’ll remain a mixture of Protestant and Catholic. I’ll still read the RSV-Catholic Edition and the KJ. I’ll still sing liturgical and hymn. I’ll still tell about the love and reward as well as sin and punishment of God. I’ll still give my testimony. Because for me, it’s about saving a soul, not the sign in front of the building.

Standard
Christianity, faith

From the Darkness

I needed some time to contemplate my life and faith. I was raised with protestant parents, saved in a protestant church but became Roman Catholic in the last year of the 20th century. Since then, there have been times when I have stepped from the church to get air so to speak. But this was different.

Catholics, and maybe protestants as well, have a period known as the dark night of the soul. My definition and tradition, this is where one thinks God has stepped from your life and you seek Him in earnestness. The fall of 2021 was mine.

I had gotten back into my faith fully in the last couple of years after issues that affected me and ended the family unit I had known for 20 years. At that time, the stress had caused my health to falter and my spirit to cry out. For the first time since being a Catholic, I hit my knees, wept, and prayed. It led me into my Catholic Christian faith unlike before.

But for some reason, this fall had played havoc within my mind and spirit and I needed to refresh, think, and clear the cobwebs. So, while not leaving my faith, I stepped away from the building that had become my church home. I had only planned on it being about a month. What it led to was something I had not really expected.

What it led me to, instead of free wheeling life and secular enjoyment, was deeper. It led me to deeper scriptural study. Instead of just one translation, I started using multiple including translations like the King James, New American, and New International. But it also included the Stone edition Tanach and the Douay-Rheims. In the mix of these, I started finding new influence and messages that hit my spirit and mind. It called me to self examination. This then led to a deeper prayer life. And to deeper study.

For all of this time, I had attended a Methodist church with a couple of my children and found that, like the Catholic faith, believed not in only a bread and juice remembrance of the last supper of Christ and His apostles, but in the beautiful truth of the words of Christ himself when He spoke “This is My body…and this is My blood”.

This self imposed sabbatical and longing search went beyond the month I had expected and lasted until the 3rd week of Dec this year. A former priest had passed and I went to his viewing, out of the respect that I had for him. As I stepped into the first parish I ever attended, and my Catholic home for most of my time in the faith, the noise and chaos faded away. There is that sanctuary, among the scent of the decades of incense and visuals of the life of Christ and the saints, that small still voice came. Not like a voice or whisper, but something more distant yet comforting. Only 2 words, “you’re home”.

This, the 4th Sunday of Advent, I returned to the little parish I had stepped out of months ago. As I sat there, taking in the visuals of Advent and the liturgical music and homily, I found myself with an inner peace that I had not had in awhile. Like someone who had left home and traveled the world, only to return to the place he was raised, I had indeed come home. That type of peace can only truly be found in a home.

During my 50 plus years I have been protestant and Catholic, Christian and pagan. During my walks outside of the faith of Christ, the pagan pantheons never answered, spoke, or given me any divine inspiration. And of my 25 years as a Christian, first as a protestant Christian and now as Roman Catholic Christian, this is the first encounter with that small still voice.

While the pagan pantheons are once again raising their heads, and yes infighting between Christians and the Pope himself having and promoting heretical ideas, have I seen for myself that one light and hope in this world of darkness. An old country tradition is to leave a candle lit in a window to guide home those that wander off from the homestead. Mine was the only light brighter than a million suns. When others have dimmed and gone out, this light will shine for an eternity.

The revelation of the Apocalypse witness and recorded by St. John on Patmos said that the Light of God will be so bright in Heaven and the new Jerusalem that there will be no need of a physical sun. That is the light that leads me, that calls me, and the comforts me.

What I thought was to be only a few weeks brought me back at a perfect time for a new beginning. What a better place and time to start a new and refreshed path than at a little cave hewn out as a place of birth for beginning of our Salvation. To behold the One that created the whole of everything and yet started His human life the way we all do.

May God the Father always guide you, bring you unto Himself through Christ the Lord, endow you with the Holy Spirit in wisdom and guidance, and comfort you on your journey through this temporary landscape of life.

Standard
Christianity, faith

Commandment 4: The Sabbath

Remember the Sabbath day to sanctify it. Six days shall you work and accomplish all your work; but the seventh day is Sabbath to Hashem, your God; you shall not do any work-you, your son, your daughter, your slave, your maidservant, your animal, and your convert within your gates- for in six days Hashem made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and He rested on the seventh day. Therefore, Hashem blessed the Sabbath day and sanctified it. (Exodus 20:8-11 from the Tanach, Stone Edition).

This commandment is the only one of the ten, given on Sinai and expounded on by Jesus, that the majority of the Christian world does not follow. This article will have three sections. The first will be examples from the Old Testament (Tanach) that show where it originated and why it is important.

The second section will be from the New Testament and show how important the commandments are. It will use the Gospels, Letters, and Revelation to show the importance of keeping all the commandments by those professing faith in Christ.

The third will be historical looks on the changing from Sabbath worship to Sunday worship. It will use writings of main denominations of Christianity. And it will look at how the Roman Catholic church looks at the ability and reason for the change and their views on the biblical Sabbath.

This debate of Sabbath v Sunday will probably be debated through Christendom until the second coming of Christ. But this article will show the biblical (not man’s interpretation) of God’s Holy determination of the day of worship.

Old Testament Views

The heaven and the earth were finished, and all their array. On the seventh day God finished the work that He had been doing, and He ceased on the seventh day from all the work that He had done. And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done (Genesis 2:1-3). The first book of Moses shows us why the day is sacred, and the day of holy rest. It was the only day sanctified by God himself. Six days God worked creating everything. He took the seventh day and sanctified it as a rest day. When God brought the Israelites from Egypt to Mt. Sinai, he made it clear in his commandments that because he sanctified it at creation, they were to keep it sanctified in their faith. It was retold to them in Deuteronomy 5:12-14 & Leviticus 23:3.

We learn in Numbers that the Sabbath rest also was extended to gentiles and had penalties for breaking its observance. But the person, be he citizen or stranger, who acts defiantly reviles the LORD; that person shall be cut off from among his people. Because he has spurned the word of the LORD and violated His commandment, that person shall be cut off—he bears his guilt. Once, when the Israelites were in the wilderness, they came upon a man gathering wood on the sabbath day. Those who found him as he was gathering wood brought him before Moses, Aaron, and the whole community. He was placed in custody, for it had not been specified what should be done to him. Then the LORD said to Moses, “The man shall be put to death: the whole community shall pelt him with stones outside the camp (Numbers 15:32-36).

New Testament Views

The Gospels tell us of the important parts of Christ’s life and ministry. Such things as his birth, miracles, baptism, death, and most important of all, his resurrection. Being brought up in the Jewish faith, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath.He went to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and on the Sabbath day he went into the synagogue, as was his custom (Luke 4:16). At a few points, the Pharisees asked why he would profane the Sabbath by doing healings and getting food to eat from the fields. He gave them a couple different answers like reminding them of God’s compassion (healings) and of David eating food meant for the priests (gathering food).

But he also expounded on the Sabbath as a hallowed day. Then he said to them, “The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath (Mark 2:27-28).There are theologians who will say that this proves that Jesus, while reverencing the day hallowed by God, that because he is the Lord of the Sabbath, he changed its meaning and importance. Two issues arise from this perspective. The first being, he never said it was open to interpretation or that it didn’t need to still be followed. The second issue comes from the understand that he was God in the flesh “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.The same was in the beginning with God.All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made.In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth (John 1:1-4,14)” and that God never changes Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Matthew 13:8).So saying Jesus was indicating that the validity of the sanctity of the Sabbath was no longer important, is saying that Matthew 13:8 is a lie. Since the scriptures tell us AllScripture isGod-breathedandis usefulforinstruction,forconviction,forcorrection,and fortraininginrighteousness,so that the man of God may be complete, fully equipped for every good work (2 Timothy 3:16-17), that would be the same as calling God himself a liar.

We find in Acts and in various letters by the apostles that they followed the Sabbath as the holy day.And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures (Acts 17:2). And Paul said Imitate me, just as I also imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1). We also see that those gentiles seeking to hear of Jesus observed the Sabbath because it is when Paul and other disciples preached to them. So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them,persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God (Acts 13:42-44).

In many places of the New Testament, Jesus tells his followers what it takes to be saved and earn eternal life.If yekeepmy commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love (John 15:1). If ye love me, keep my commandments. He that hath my commandments, andkeepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him (John 14:15, 21).

In Revelation we are told through John’s writing are those that will see eternal life with God. And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, whichkeepthe commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelation 12:17). Here is the patience of the saints: here are they thatkeepthe commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus (Revelation 14:12).These few verses, as well as others, should make it important to understand that the commandments and faith in Christ are needed to make it to a heavenly reward of eternal life.

History of Change

The bible prophesied the change of times and laws. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time (Daniel 7:25). There is only one commandment that is also a time. The fourth commandment (law) is the command for Sabbath (time) holiness. Let look to see where that change came from.

The Catholic Catechism states in Part 3 Section 2 Chapter 1 Article 3 Subsection 2 Line 2174Jesus rose from the dead “on the first day of the week.” Because it is the “first day,” the day of Christ’s Resurrection recalls the first creation. Because it is the “eighth day” following the sabbath, it symbolizes the new creation ushered in by Christ’s Resurrection. For Christians it has become the first of all days, the first of all feasts, the Lord’s Day (he kuriake hemera, dies dominica) Sunday:We all gather on the day of the sun, for it is the first day [after the Jewish sabbath, but also the first day] when God, separating matter from darkness, made the world; and on this same day Jesus Christ our Savior rose from the dead”. What is interesting is that they use the pagan vernacular “the day of the sun”. They also say they celebrate for two reasons. Christ rising from the dead on the first day AND God’s “separation of light and dark” on the first day of creation.

Since the Bible writers didn’t say that God the father or God the Son (Jesus) changed the rules of the fourth commandment, it has to be understood that the Catholic Church got that ability from somewhere. The church tells us where that power came from. “ “All power is given Me in heaven and on earth; as the Father sent Me so I also send you,” said our Divine Lord in giving His tremendous commission to His Apostles. “He that heareth you heareth Me.” We have in the authoritative voice of the Church the voice of Christ Himself.The Church is above the Bible; and this transference of Sabbath observance from Saturday to Sunday is proof positive of that fact.Deny the authority of the Church and you have no adequate or reasonable explanation or justification for the substitution of Sunday for Saturday in the Third – Protestant Fourth – Commandment of God. As the Rev. Mr. Smith rightly points out: “The Jewish Sabbath is not Sunday, the Lord’s Day. Christians are all wrong in speaking of the Sabbath as Sunday.” The Christians who so speak are “Bible Christians,” those who make the Bible the sole rule of Faith; and the Bible is silent on Sunday observance, it speaks only of Sabbath observance. The Lord’s Day – Dies Dominica – is the term used always in the Missal and the Breviary. It occurs in the Bible once (Apoc. 1.10;) in Acts xx. 7 and 1 Cor. xvi., 2 there is a reference to “the first day of the week;” but in none of these is there the remotest intimation that henceforth the first day is to take the place of the seventh. That is the crux of the whole question, what authority does the Bible give for the change? And that difficulty Mr. Smith and his critics, though pious and effusive and vaguely eloquent about many things, have each and all sedulously evaded.

    If affects very materially and very intimately the question of the proper observance of the Lord’s Day.

    In the first centuries the obligation of rest from work remained somewhat indefinite. The Council of Laodicea, held at the end of the fourth century, was content to prescribe that on the Lord’s Day the faithful were to abstain from work as far as possible. At the beginning of the sixth century St. Cesarius and others showed an inclination – very familiar to us – to apply the law of the Jewish Sabbath to the Christian Sunday. But the Council of Orleans in 538 reprobated this tendency as Jewish and non-Christian.

    Thus by the same Divine authority, in virtue of which she did away with the Jewish Sabbath and substituted therefor the Christian Sunday, the Catholic Church legislated as to how the Lord’s Day should be observed.

    Due to the exaggerated importance given the Bible after the Reformation and to the influence of Puritanism, the Lord’s Day in England and still more in Scotland began to take on all the rigorism of the Jewish Sabbath. That heritage, though somewhat softened, we still have with us. A game of ball where participants and spectators enjoy health-giving rest and recreation in the open air is “desecration of the Sabbath.” The swimming pool controversy is another good example.

   We would not be misunderstood. With much of the activity of the Sabbatarians we are in sympathy. Their insistence on a day of rest being given all workers is admirable. But their muddle-headed confusion of the Lord’s Day with the Jewish Sabbath – against which the Rev. Mr. Smith so vigorously protests – finds no sympathy amongst the Catholics who receive the Lord’s Day itself as well as its mode of observance from the Church and not from the Bible(Saturday, September 1st, 1923 edition of The Catholic Record of London, Ontario, Canada, Volume XLV, #2342 and appeared on page 4http://www.aloha.net/~mikesch/c-record.htm).

The Bible does not say that God or Christ (or the Apostles through leading of the Holy Spirit) changed the day of worship or said that the commandment was void. The Catholic Church admits that they changed it and call those that worship on the day set aside by God are ‘B ible Christians’. So do you follow traditions set by man or are you a “Bible Christian”?

Jesus called out the Pharisees of his day. But he is also talking to the Pharisees of our day.

He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition (Mark 7:6-9)

Standard