Saint Thomas Aquinas

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Saints: Part II- Can the Saints Pray for Us?

The Saints: Part II- Can the Saints Pray for Us?
Matthew J. Bellisario 2010
In the first part of this series we examined what type of “worship” Catholics give to the Saints. We determined that it was a type of veneration in which we express a deep respect, honor, reverence and love for our brothers and sisters in Christ who now reside in the heavenly realm with Christ. We also realized that we also adore God as well when we praise the Saints, and we recognize the grace of God that was bestowed upon them. It is worth noting what St. Jerome had to say about this, “Still we honor the relics of the martyrs, that we may adore Him whose martyrs they are. We honor the servants that their honor may be reflected upon their Lord who Himself says:--'he that receiveth you receiveth me.' Jerome, To Riparius, Epistle 109:1 (A.D. 404) In this second part I wanted to examine whether or not it seems probable from the Scriptures and from Tradition as to whether or not the Saints in heaven can see us and pray for us. 
Our first stop will be Sacred Scripture. In the Gospel of Luke we see Jesus clearly tell his followers that all who have departed in faith are still “living”, and that the dead rise again. This seems to imply that those who have gone on are not sleeping or in a state where they are oblivious to what is going on in the Body of Christ. “Now that the dead rise again, Moses also shewed, at the bush, when he called the Lord, The God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob; For he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live to him.” (Luke 20:37-38) All those in the Body of Christ are alive,including those who have gone on before us. In the Apocalypse of Saint John we see many instances of those in heaven worshiping God as we do here on earth. “And round about the throne were four and twenty seats; and upon the seats, four and twenty ancients sitting, clothed in white garments, and on their heads were crowns of gold...And they rested not day and night, saying: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, who was, and who is, and who is to come.” (Rev 4:4,8) In chapter 5 we see a clear reference to heaven where there is worship representative of the Mass, including the use of incense and where the prayers of the Saints are presented before almighty God. “And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints: And they sung a new canticle, saying: Thou art worthy, O Lord, to take the book, and to open the seals thereof; because thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God, in thy blood, out of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. And hast made us to our God a kingdom and priests, and we shall reign on the earth.” (Rev 5:8-10)
It is well known that the ancient tradition of the Catholic Church is to have relics of the Saints put in the altars which are venerated during the worship of the Mass. This is not an invention that was made out of thin air. The first Christians in the catacombs worshiped on the relics of the martyrs and Saints, and the idea is represented in Sacred Scripture. “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held. And they cried with a loud voice, saying: How long, O Lord (holy and true) dost thou not judge and revenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?” (Rev 6”9-10) There are some who think that these texts are only referring to something in the future which will take place only at a later time and that those who have gone on before us are not in the state in which these texts refer. Yet we know that this is not true based on consistent interpretation of tradition in the Church, in her liturgies and in its consistency with other parts of Scripture which allude to those who have gone on before us like Moses and Elias for example, are still alive and were revealed as being so in the Gospels. During the Transfiguration Jesus Himself revealed that Moses and Elias were indeed alive and able to see and participate in some form after their deaths. “And behold there appeared to them Moses and Elias talking with him.” (Matthew 17:3) Finally in the book of Hebrews we see Saint Paul tell us that there is a great cloud of witnesses watching over us as we here on earth strive to serve almighty God. “And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us...” (Hebrews 12:1)
Many use the text of 1 Timothy to claim that Catholics are violating the one mediator who is Christ by asking the Saints to pray for us. “For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: Who gave himself a redemption for all, a testimony in due times.” (1 Timothy 2:5-6) The Catholic Church however is not saying that the Saints are like Christ who is our redemption and who is able to reconcile mankind to God by the shedding of His blood. We simply see the Saints as our living brothers and sisters in Christ who are still living and able to pray for us as we ask people to do so on earth. If it is not a violation of the one mediator-ship of Christ to ask for someone’s prayers while they are alive here on earth, it is not a violation to ask those living in heaven to pray for us either. What is also ironic is that Protestants will quote 1 Tim 2:5-6 to refute Catholics saying that we are violating Christ’s mediation by asking others to pray for us, yet they skip over verse 1 which tells us that we should pray for others. “I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men:...” (1 Timothy 2:1) So, if the Saints can hear and see us, and they are indeed alive and active in the Body of Christ, then it would seem that there is no violation of Christ’s mediation by asking them to pray for us. 
If we now look to the early Christians as witnesses, we can see very plainly that they also venerated the Saints and asked for their intercession. Saint Cyril of Jerusalem wrote, "Then we commemorate also those who have fallen asleep before us, first Patriarchs, Prophets, Apostles, Martyrs, that at their prayers and intercessions God would receive our petition. Then on behalf also of the Holy Fathers and Bishops who have fallen asleep before us, and in a word of all who in past years have fallen asleep among us, believing that it will be a very great benefit to the souls, for whom the supplication is put up, while that holy and most awful sacrifice is set forth." Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 23:9 (A.D. 350)
It seems that Saint Augustine in is age had heretics attacking him for accusing him of worshiping idols as well when he honored the Saints and asked for their intercession. Saint Augustine refutes their fallacy. "As to our paying honor to the memory of the martyrs, and the accusation of Faustus, that we worship them instead of idols, I should not care to answer such a charge, were it not for the sake of showing how Faustus, in his desire to cast reproach on us, has overstepped the Manichaean inventions, and has fallen heedlessly into a popular notion found in Pagan poetry, although he is so anxious to be distinguished from the Pagans. For in saying that we have turned the idols into martyrs, be speaks of our worshipping them with similar rites, and appeasing the shades of the departed with wine and food…It is true that Christians pay religious honor to the memory of the martyrs, both to excite us to imitate them and to obtain a share in their merits, and the assistance of their prayers. But we build altars not to any martyr, but to the God of martyrs, although it is to the memory of the martyrs. Augustine, Against Faustus, 20:21 (A.D. 400) It is also no secret that St. Augustine attested to many miracles brought about by the veneration of the Saints and their relics, and you can read it for yourself in his grand work, “The City of God.”
Likewise Saint Jerome had to battle those whom he called “inventors” for their false accusations in attacking him for venerating the relics of the Saints. He responded quite firmly, “I ask Vigilantius, Are the relics of Peter and of Paul unclean? Was the body of Moses unclean, of which we are told (according to the correct Hebrew text) that it was buried by the Lord Himself? And do we, every time that we enter the basilicas of apostles and prophets and martyrs, pay homage to the shrines of idols? Are the tapers which burn before their tombs only the tokens of idolatry? I will go farther still and ask a question which will make this theory recoil upon the head of its inventor and which will either kill or cure that frenzied brain of his, so that simple souls shall be no more subverted by his sacrilegious reasonings. Let him answer me this, Was the Lord's body unclean when it was placed in the sepulchre? And did the angels clothed in white raiment merely watch over a corpse dead and defiled, that ages afterwards this sleepy fellow might indulge in dreams and vomit forth his filthy surfeit, so as, like the persecutor Julian, either to destroy the basilicas of the saints or to convert them into heathen temples?" Jerome, To Riparius, 109:1 (A.D. 404). There are many more examples I could quote form the early Fathers on this subject. For the sake of brevity I will refrain from doing so,  
Finally it is worth noting that the veneration of Saints has existed in the Divine Liturgy from the earliest times of structured Christian worship. Every documented liturgy that dates back to the ancient apostolic Churches contain prayers to the Saints, as well as prayers that pay tribute and honor to the Saints. For example, we see in the Proskomedia (Greek word meaning offering. The first part of the Liturgy derives its name from the early Christian custom of the people offering bread and wine and all else that was needed for the Liturgy.) in the Eastern Church liturgy, that there is a portion of the bread that will be used for the veneration of the Saints. “From the second prosphora, the priest cuts out one portion in honor of the Virgin Mary and places it on the right side of the Lamb on the diskos. From the third prosphora, which is called "that of the nine ranks," are taken nine portions in honor of the saints, John the Forerunner and Baptist, the prophets, the Apostles, the hierarchs, the martyrs, the monastic saints, the unmercenary physicians, the grandparents of Jesus, Joachim and Anna, the saint who is celebrated that day, the saint to whom the church is dedicated, and finally the saint who composed the liturgy being celebrated. These portions are placed on the left side the Lamb. From the fourth prosphora, portions are removed for the hierarchs, the priesthood, and all the living. From the fifth prosphora, portions are taken for those Orthodox Christians who have reposed.” (Bishop Alexander (Mileant) 2001) 
There are several parts of the liturgy where the intercession of the Saints are petitioned by the faithful. For example, one antiphon of the Divine Liturgy reads, “Through the intercessions of the Theotokos (The Mother of God), Savior, save us” and at the dismissal the priest asks for the intercession of the Theotokos and the Saints. “May Christ our true God, through the intercessions of His all-immaculate Mother, of the holy and glorious Apostles, of our Father among the Saints, John Chrysostom, Archbishop of Constantinople ... and of all the Saints, have mercy on us and save us, for He is good and the Lover of mankind.” These types of prayers to the Saints are said in the proper worship of every ancient Rite of the Church. 
Before I close I would like to address the lighting of candles in the Catholic Church. Some people ask why we light candles in front of the icons or other images of the Saints in our churches. We can see from the quote that I cited earlier that Saint Jerome in the early 400s burned candles before the tombs of the martyrs. This was done for a variety of reasons. It is to represent God’s grace, the fire of the Holy Spirit which is present among the faithful, and among the Saints. It also represents the fire of prayer among the faithful, and the light that Christ has brought into the world. In short it symbolizes the new life that is given to us by the fire of Divine love. Turtullian in the 2nd century wrote of the use of candles in the liturgy, “We never hold a service without candles, yet we use them not just to dispel night's gloom we also hold our services in daylight but in order to represent by this Christ, the Uncreated Light, without Worn we would in broad daylight wander as if lost in darkness.” We also see the candles that burn in the sanctuary of the Church near the tabernacle where Our Lord is Present to identify His presence there as well. The lighting of candles was not foreign to the ancient Christians, and the Jews also included such symbolism in their liturgies, “He set the candlestick also in the tabernacle of the testimony over against the table on the south side, Placing the lamps in order, according to the precept of the Lord.” (Exodus 40:22-23) 
So in closing we can rest assured that the worship given to the Saints is appropriate in the Catholic faith, and that it not only gives honor and veneration to our brothers and sisters in Christ, it also gives honor to God for the grace that he gives us and His Saints. It is also reasonable to believe that the Saints are not dead and are not completely separated from us, for none are dead that live in Christ. (Luke 20:37-38) Scripture and Tradition attest to this very fact. Finally, we should not be embarrassed about lighting candles before the icons, relics and other images of the Saints. It is an appropriate symbolic act that represents our faith in God, the light of Christ, and the continuous prayers of the Saints before almighty God. 

30 comments:

GADEL said...

Excellent article. God bless you dear adelphos!

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

Matthew, I disagree on your views here.

First, the Transfiguration is seemingly only a vision. In Matthew 17:9, Jesus tells His disciples to tell no one about the VISION.

"And as they are coming down from the mount, Jesus charged them, saying, 'Say to no one the vision, till the Son of Man out of the dead may rise.'"

This does not necessarily imply that Moses and Elijah were physically or spiritually present. It appears that these were only images. Jesus said that the only man to go to Heaven was Him.

"and no one hath gone up to the Heaven, except He who out of the Heaven came down -- the Son of Man who is in the Heaven." (John 3:13)

He is God of the Old Testament, going to Earth back to Heaven and back to Earth again. If Jesus was the only man to go Heaven as He says, then Moses and Elijah weren't in Heaven at the time of the Transfiguration. Moses and Elijah, it would seem, are dead and awaiting the trumpet sound that will resurrect them. They will then receive immortality, having died in faith.

Catholics say that their saints can hear their prayers and pray to God for them. But the Bible states that the dead know nothing. (Ecclesiastes 9:5) So, if the dead know nothing, how could they know how to pray on our behalf, even if they were somehow alive in a non-physical way?

Lastly, I want to present to you a couple of verses on Christ Jesus that I believe tells a different story than the traditional view.

"And now, Christ hath risen out of the dead -- the first-fruits of those sleeping He became," (1 Corinthians 15:20)

"And Himself is the Head of the Body -- the assembly -- who is a beginning, a first-born out of the dead, that He might become in all things -- Himself -- first," (Colossians 1:18)

NOTE: This is a literal Greek translation. The articles "a" might, in the context, be rendered as "the."

The first verse says that Jesus was the firstfruits of those SLEEPING. Moses and Elijah are sleeping, unable to communicate with anybody. Also, it wasn't Moses, Elijah, or Enoch that were the first to taste death and be resurrected into immortality. It was Christ, the First of the Firstfruits. It is only He who is qualified to lead those into eternal life. As Colossians 1:18 tells us, Jesus has preeminance in all things. If others before Him had died and received the promise of eternal life, then Jesus would not be preeminant in all things, and He would not be the First of the Firstfruits.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Bellisario said...

Its funny how you deny Scripture its plain sense. It is a fact that Jesus was conversing with Moses and Elijah. The text says so. In order for Jesus to be talking with them, they would have have to have been present, otherwise you are calling Jesus a liar. To my knowledge, Jesus is God, if He says He was talking to them, "Just then there appeared before them Moses and Elijah, talking with Jesus." then He was talking to them, not play acting. Isn't it funny how the Protestants are always the one's denying Christ's words? He didn't really mean it right? Jesus was play acting with a "vision" where neither of them were really present. If you believe that then shame on you. Don't call yourself a Christian of ay kind.

Matthew Bellisario said...

It is also a fact that the Saints and Church Fathers all believed that they were also present in some form where they were actually conversing with Jesus as well. Read St. Jerome, St. Chrysostom, St. Leo the Great, St Epriam the Syrian and the list goes on.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

I appreciate your response, condenscending as it was.

No, there was no lying. These people described what they witnessed in the vision. It appeared to them as though Jesus was having a conversation with them. A vision is a supernatural manifestation, not a material reality.

Read Luke 9:33.

"And it came to pass, in their parting from him, Peter said unto Jesus, 'Master, it is good to us to be here; and we may make three booths, one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah,' not knowing what he saith:"

My understanding of why Peter didn't know what he was saying was because he was confused. He thought that Moses and Elijah were there, but it was a Divine manifestation.

I am not a Protestant. Let's not jump to conclusions about me. Don't make assumptions about what I consider my denomination to be or whether I can be called a Christian. I apologize if my tone appeared as though I was being hostile. So you know, I don't follow a denomination. I don't agree with the Protestants either. Yes, they do misinterpret the Scriptures. There's no argument from me on that.

And yes, it's a fact that a lot of people through history believed what you say. But I don't interpret the Bible in terms of what fallible men believed. I believe that the Bible is meant to be interpreted on its own. So I don't care about what the people you mentioned wrote.

Lastly, is there any insight from a Catholic perspective that you can offer me on the other points I mentioned?

Matthew Bellisario said...

Again, it is apparent that Jesus was talking to them, Scripture says so. Also, the Church Fathers all read this passage and determined that Jesus was talking to them. How exactly it happened we do not know, but it happened. It was not a figment of Peter's imagination, it was what he say and testified to. It seems that Christian tradition tells us that that they were there. Again we can see why Christ gave us a Church with apostolic authority, not a Bible alone to be interpreted by every Tom, Dick and Harry for themselves.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

I still think that Jesus was talking to them in a vision, because Scripture tells us that it was a vision.

No, I don't think that every Tom, Dick, and Harry can interpret the Bible either, in a matter of speaking. I believe that it's possible for people to do this when they are of a certain mindset. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness as the Bible puts it. The Bible says that these people will be filled. (Matthew 5:6) The true Church of God is the Body of Christ, not a denomination. Those who wish to be a part of His Body may discover the truth.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

And I should add that a vision doesn't equate to a figment of one's imagination. The vision was there. Peter gave testimony to the vision he saw. It happened. He did not lie. Jesus acknowledged Himself that it was seen. No lying whatsoever.

Matthew Bellisario said...

A "vision" does mean that it did not happen. Of course there is a mystical element to this. But the fact remains that the text tells us plainly that Jesus conversed with both of them. How it was revealed to those who saw it is beside the point. What matters is the context that I presented this passage in. It is a fact that both Moses and Elijah were able, through God's power to converse with Jesus. They were not completely cut off from the living.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

OK, let's say that you're right about this. Moses and Elijah were not totally cut off from the living. What does that mean? Were they granted a temporary status of being resurrected? Were they in Heaven at the time having been made immortal? If so, how would this allow Jesus to be the First of the Firstfruits, having preeminance in all things?

Thank you for continuing with this discussion.

Matthew Bellisario said...

The reasons for this special revelation during the Transfiguration are many. If we look at saint John Chrysostom's commentary on this passage it gives us a clue.

"There are many reasons why these should appear. The first is this; because the multitudes said He was Elias, or Jeremiah, or one of the Prophets, He here brings with Him the chief of the Prophets, that hence at least may be seen the difference between the servants and their Lord. Another reason is this, because the Jews were ever charging Jesus with being a transgressor of the Law and blasphemer, and usurping to Himself the glory of the Father, that He might prove Himself guiltless of both charges, He brings forward those who were eminent in both particulars; Moses, who gave the Law, and Elias, who was jealous for the glory of God. Another reason is, that they might learn that He has the power of life and death; by producing Moses, who was dead, and Elias, who had not yet experienced death. "

It is the last reason that pertains to the subject matter in this post. Jesus has the power over life and death. This is so with His Saints. Just as we see him granting Moses and Elijah here a part in His revelation and work in the world in this passage, we also have Jesus granting the same to the Saints of His Church now. It is an example of God allowing his servants to function beyond life on this earth, as the Saints also do.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

What did he mean when he said that Elias (the Greek transliteration of Elijah) had not yet experienced death?

Elijah had not gone to Heaven. Jesus Himself said so, as I pointed out above. No man had gone to Heaven except for Him. John 3:13 says this. The Bible says that Elijah was taken where people couldn't find him. To say that he was taken to Heaven is merely human speculation.

But I'd like to address the issue of what the traditional view has been on this. The Bible itself gives us the answer as to where Elijah went. Sometime after he was taken away, King Jehoram received a letter from him. Josephus, a Jewish historian of the first century AD, thought it was 2 years in one of his notes. The Jewish Encyclopedia says that it was 7 years. The exact chronology is hard to figure, but it shows that it wasn't unanimously agreed upon that he went to Heaven.

"And there cometh in unto him a writing from Elijah the prophet, saying, 'Thus said Jehovah, God of David thy father, Because that thou hast not walked in the ways of Jehoshaphat thy father, and in the ways of Asa king of Judah," (2 Chronicles 21:12)

He couldn't have written this letter to him if he was in Heaven. It couldn't have been written after he was taken away, because the wickedness of Jehoram occured after he was taken away. The letter speaks of his wickedness as past events. Some copies of Josephus propose an explanation for this: "For he was yet upon earth." (Antiquities of the Jews,9,5:2).

Near a tributary of the Jordan River, there's even a traditional site of Elijah's tomb. On page 760 of Harper's Bible Dictionary, it says that the tenth day of the second month ZN was a "fast to commemorate the death of Elijah." The Bible itself never says that Elijah didn't die.

God gave the disciples the ability to see a vision of Jesus in His glory and Moses and Elijah as they will be when they are resurrected. This teaches us that at the Resurrection we can talk to each other. The talking between all three of them was a part of the vision.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

"Josephus, a Jewish historian of the first century AD, thought it was 2 years in one of his notes."

I'm sorry. Make that 4 years.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

"It couldn't have been written after he was taken away, because the wickedness of Jehoram occured after he was taken away."

And another error. It couldn't have been written BEFORE he was taken away. I wish I could edit my posts.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Jesus is talking to them before, not after. In other words, Elijah and Moses are prophets, and resemble the status the Saints of the Church will hold in the future. Again, nothing here goes against the context I used in my post. Thanks for stopping by.

Turretinfan said...

IiSB asked: "What did he mean when he said that Elias (the Greek transliteration of Elijah) had not yet experienced death?"
IiSB answered: "Elijah had not gone to Heaven. ..."

Actually, Elijah was taken up to heaven alive, rather than dying. He was taken up in a chariot of fire. That explains the "not experienced death." But apparently Chrysostom thinks that Elijah (together with Enoch) is one of the two witnesses that will come back to earth and die in the end times. Hence the "yet."

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

Well, Jesus is described as being in His glory. Jesus was not in His glory until after He was resurrected, having attained victory over death and disarming principalities and authorities. This means that Jesus was a part of that vision. Jesus, Moses, and Elijah are all shown as they will be when they are at the Resurrection. This does not teach us that the saints, who have died in faith, are currently in Heaven or have been given eternal life. The vision revealed the future of how they will be.

And again, Elijah did NOT go to Heaven. We are told explictly that no man went to Heaven except for Christ Jesus (John 3:13). Believe it or not, there are three heavens spoken about in the Bible. The first of these is the atmosphere.

"And God saith, 'Let the waters teem with the teeming living creature, and fowl let fly on the earth on the face of the expanse of the heavens.'" (Genesis 1:20)

Birds obviously do not fly where the Throne of God is. This is referring to the atmosphere.

"For I see Thy heavens, a work of Thy fingers, Moon and stars that Thou didst establish." (Psalm 8:3)

The second type of heaven is the universe created by God. This is where the stars, moons, planets, etc. are. This person obviously did not see God's Throne. He tells us what he saw explicitly when speaks of God's heavens.

The third type of heaven is God's Throne. Elijah was not taken there. The only man to be there is Jesus, and Elijah was a sinner like everybody else. He could not have entered into Heaven. What exactly did Chrysostom think? That Elijah went into the third heaven, was given eternal life, and was to be put back on Earth having his immortality taken away so he can die and be resurrected? That's some strange theology.

Matthew Bellisario said...

You have the strange theology. Too bad you will not take Scripture at face value. Jesus was not resurrected at that time, He was there on Mt. Tabor exactly where St. Peter said He was. Again, we can see plainly that Moses, who had died, and Elijah who did not were both present outside of the normal earthly life and conversing with Jesus at this period in time. These are the facts no matter how hard you try to deny the reality that Scripture clearly presents to us.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

John 3:13:

"and no one hath gone up to the heaven, except he who out of the heaven came down -- the Son of Man who is in the heaven."

It doesn't get more face value than that.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Again that has nothing to do with my claim in the post does it? No, my claim stands that those who have gone on before us are not completely separated from us, Jesus demonstrated that for us. Jesus conversed with Moses and Elijah at that time and place on this earth, that is what you must accept or reject at face value.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

"Jesus was not resurrected at that time, He was there on Mt. Tabor exactly where St. Peter said He was."

If anything that proves my point. Jesus was not resurrected at that time. So in order for the resurrected Jesus to be seen, it had to be a vision of a future event.

"No, my claim stands that those who have gone on before us are not completely separated from us, Jesus demonstrated that for us."

If they are not completely separated from us, then where are they?

Matthew Bellisario said...

Scripture tells us that they were all there in front of St. Peter. Again its you against the plain words of Scripture that tell us that Moses and Elijah were conversing with Jesus. It was not future event, it happened then and there. Scripture never tells us that it was a future event. That is only coming from you writing in that opinion in the margins of Scripture, adding to its words.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

Matthew,

Where were Moses and Elijah if they were not totally separated from the living and not in Heaven?

Matthew Bellisario said...

At that point and time Scripture tells us they were conversing with Jesus.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

And prior to that?

Matthew Bellisario said...

I am growing tired and bored of this. I have other things to do than argue with you over what the plain text here says. What I wrote in my article pertaining to this event stands. The Saints can and do pray and intercede for us today in the body of Christ. What we saw with Moses and Elijah was a prefigurement of that reality since they conversed with Jesus at Mt. Tabor. It was not a figment of St. Peter's imagination, nor was it an event from the future, it really happened. That is all I have to say on the matter. Again, thanks for coming by. I have not time or interest in continuing on with this discussion any further.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

What I was trying to ask was this:

If the dead know nothing (Ecclesiastes 9:5), then they can't pray for us on our behalf, since they don't know how to. If they weren't dead knowing nothing and not in Heaven, where were they between their deaths (well, at least we can both agree that Moses died) and their appearance at the Transfiguration?

If you don't answer, that's your decision. I'm not forcing you to answer. If this is indeed the end of this conversation, then thanks for your answers.

Internet_is_Serious_Business! said...

One last item for whoever it may concern.

Looking at Matthew 17:9 in the Greek text, we see the word for "vision." It is Strong's number 3705.

http://www.qbible.com/greek-new-testament/matthew/17.html#9

http://www.qbible.com/g/3705.html

The Greek word "horama" can mean the following:

1. that which is seen, spectacle

2. a sight divinely granted in an ecstasy or in a sleep, a vision

Thayer's Greek Lexicon says the following:

From G3708; something gazed at, that is, a spectacle (especially supernatural):--sight, vision.

This is in line with what I've been saying. So if anybody wants to accuse me of calling Jesus a liar, or that the Bible doesn't say that this was a vision, they have this to contend with. They also should look at the following:

Though some translations give, "tell no one what you have seen" they are technically incorrect.

Fenton, who studied Hebrew and Greek for 50 years before writing his Bible, renders the Greek word as "vision."

The New American Standard Bible gives "vision" - in a note at the bottom front cover they say: Updated NASB the Most Literal Is Now More Readable.

The Holy Bible KJV 1611 gives "vision."

Good News NT and Psalms by the Canadian Bible Society give "vision."

The Emphatic Diaglott NT from the Vatican Manuscript gives "vision."

Lamsa - Holy Bible from Ancient Eastern Manuscripts gives "vision."

The Companion Bible gives "vision."

The complete Word Study NT by Zodhiates gives "vision."

Young's Literal Translation gives "vision."

Analytical Greek Lexicon says for this Greek word that it's "a thing seen, sight, appearance... a vision, Mat.17:9; Acts 9:10,12

Paul saw a vision of Ananias coming to him in Acts 9:12 - he had not yet come.

So there you go. I gave the face value of Matthew 17:9. Now it's up to the people who read this to consider what has been said here. Don't take my word for it. Look into it yourselves. The qbible web site that I linked to above is a good web site to check the Hebrew and Greek texts.

Matthew Bellisario said...

Again, your rant here means nothing. The text never says the vision is something that happens in the future. It is a vision of Moses and Elijah talking to Jesus at that time. Why do you waste your time making a fool out of yourself? all of these definitions given here of a "vision" does nothing to bolster your case.