No where in Scripture are we told to put our eyes upon anyone other than the Lord himself. We are told to fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith (Heb. 12:2). In addition, it is Jesus who is the model of virtue, not Mary.
Though she was greatly blessed, and undoubtedly a godly woman, she herself still needed The Savior, who was begotten not by her human husband Joseph, but rather the Holy Spirit of God the Father.
Mary said, "And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior," (Luke 1:47). Contrary to the Roman Catholic teaching that Mary was sinless, Mary herself admitted that God was her Savior and Redeemer in the person of The Son of God, which son of man was named Jesus whom she birthed. A sinless person does not need The Savior. It is in the person of Jesus that grace and truth (and virtue) are best exemplified. Our eyes should be kept on Him - not overdo it excessively dwelling on Mary as a blessed one and referred to as such throughout all generations.
The only proper object of preaching and worship is God Himself - [not "herself"].
As Jesus said: "...You shall worship the Lord your God, and serve Him only," (Matt. 4:10).
The diabolical danger of making a person other than God - such as Mary - the subject of both preaching and worship, is warned about in Exodus 20:4-5:
"You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me."
God clearly warns against creating any idol before which anyone should bow.
It almost goes without saying that the countless images of Mary strewn throughout Catholic churches all over the world are most assuredly shrines of idolatry, since thousands of times a day catholics over the world break the commandment of God by bowing before these images essentially in graven-image worship.
We should look to Christ alone. If we take your eyes off of Jesus and put them on anything or anyone else, we will be going astray.
Where does it say that Mary was exalted above angels and men second only to "her" Son? This would mean that Mary is in omnipotent and omnipresent authority slightly under Jesus, The Creator of the Universe, in position. That teaching obviously cannot be found in Scripture and should be abandoned!
Mary is not "the Mother of God" in the sense that the Trinitarian Almighty, The Creator of the Universe, was conceived and birthed by a human mom. The Divine Nature has no mother, being that God is eternal and self sufficient. Rather, Mary is merely the mother of the human nature of Jesus, NOT the mother of the Divine Nature. The human nature took its biological essence from Mary. The divine nature is from Father God.
Even though Mary is the mother of the person of Christ who has two natures: divine and human, catholics cultically misuse the ambiguity of the term to elevate Mary to a place she should not be and in so doing, promote their idolatry.
The issue of Catholics praying to saints is one that is full of confusion. It is the official position of the Roman Catholic Church that catholics do not pray to saints and Mary, but rather that catholics petition saints and Mary to pray for them. The official position of the Roman Catholic Church is that asking saints for their prayers is no different than asking someone here on earth to pray for us. However, the practice of many Catholics diverges from official Roman Catholic teaching. Many Catholics do in fact pray directly to saints and/or Mary, asking them for help – instead of asking the saints and/or Mary to intercede with God for help. Whatever the case, whether a saint or Mary is being prayed to, or asked to pray, neither practice has any Biblical basis.
The Bible nowhere instructs believers in Christ to pray to anyone other than God. The Bible nowhere encourages, or even mentions, believers asking individuals in heaven for their prayers.
Why, then, do many Catholics pray to Mary and/or the saints, or request their prayers? Catholics view Mary and the saints as "intercessors" before God. They believe that a saint, who is glorified in Heaven, has more "direct access" to God than we do. Therefore, if a saint delivers a prayer to God, it is more effective than us praying to God directly. This concept is blatantly non-Biblical. Hebrews 4:16 tells us that we, believers here on earth, can "approach the throne of grace with confidence."
First Timothy 2:5 declares, "For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." There is NO one else who can mediate with God for us. Being that Jesus is the ONLY Mediator, that indicates Mary and the saints cannot be mediators. They cannot mediate our prayer requests to God.
Further, the Bible tells us that Jesus Christ Himself is interceding for us before the Father: "Therefore He is able to save completely those who come to God through Him, because He always lives to intercede for them" (Hebrews 7:25). With Jesus Himself interceding for us, why would we need Mary or the saints to intercede for us? Whom would God listen to more closely than His Son?
Romans 8:26-27 describes the Holy Spirit interceding for us. With the 2nd and 3rd members of the Trinity already interceding for us before the Father in heaven, what possible need could there be to have Mary or the saints interceding for us?
Catholics argue that praying to Mary and the saints is no different than asking someone here on earth to pray for us.
Let us examine that claim.
(1) The Apostle Paul asks other Christians to pray for him in Ephesians 6:19. Many Scriptures describe believers praying for one another (2 Corinthians 1:11; Ephesians 1:16; Philippians 1:19; 2 Timothy 1:3). The Bible nowhere mentions anyone asking for someone in heaven to pray for him. The Bible nowhere describes anyone in heaven praying for anyone on earth.
(2) The Bible gives absolutely no indication that Mary or the saints can hear our prayers. Mary and the saints are not omniscient. Even glorified in heaven, they are still finite beings with limitations. How could they possibly hear the prayers of millions of people? Whenever the Bible mentions praying to or speaking with the dead, it is in the context of sorcery, witchcraft, necromancy, and divination—activities the Bible strongly condemns (Leviticus 20:27; Deuteronomy 18:10-13).
In the one instance when a "saint" is spoken to, the writer of First Samuel takes the position of feigned apparition as if but rather than an actual and literal appearance of a resurrected-by-a-witchy-medium Samuel (in stark contrast to the actual visionary manifestations of Moses and Elijah speaking with the Lord Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration).
It is clear that praying to Mary or the saints is completely different from asking someone here on earth to pray for us. One has a strong biblical basis; the other has no Biblical basis whatsoever.
God does not answer prayers based on who is praying. God answers prayers based on whether they are asked according to His will (1 John 5:14-15). There is absolutely no basis or need to pray to anyone other than God alone. There is no basis for asking those who are in heaven to pray for us. Only God can hear our prayers. Only God can answer our prayers. No one in heaven has any greater access to God's throne than we do through prayer (Hebrews 4:16).
Catholics who presume that they are not worthy to directly access the Lord in prayer are both exhibiting anti-Biblical faithlessness in the Word which commands them to access God directly in the name of Jesus, and a cowardice to confront the Lord perhaps because of secret sins they will not let go of and thus disable them from bravely and forthrightly accessing Christ Jesus directly.
The Torah (Old Testament Law) forbids us from communicating to or with the dead:
Deuteronomy 18:10 There shall not be found among you any one who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, any one who practices divination, a soothsayer, or an augur, or a sorcerer, 11 or a charmer, or a medium, or a wizard, or a necromancer.
According to one dictionary, 'the practice of supposedly communicating with the spirits of the dead' is called: "necromancy."
So what about "intercession?"
Asking one's Divine Intercessor (whether the Father, the Son, and/or The Spirit) directly is not a sin.
Prayer on the behalf of others is found throughout The Bible, and one certainly can differentiate between the Divine "Mediator" and human "intercessors."
Acts 8:24 And Simon answered, "Pray for me to the Lord, that nothing of what you have said may come upon me."
It is doubtful if that request was ever granted. It sounds like non-spiritually-minded Simon was one of the first man-worshipping catholics!
Again: Catholics who presume that they are not worthy to directly access the Lord in prayer are both exhibiting anti-Biblical faithlessness in the Word which commands them to access God directly in the name of Jesus, and a cowardice to confront the Lord perhaps because of secret sins they will not let go of and thus disable them from bravely and forthrightly accessing Christ Jesus directly.
1Timothy 2:1 I desire therefore, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made [to God, to Christ, to the Holy Spirit] for all men.
Mark 12:27 He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.
But in one sense God is Ruler and Determiner of BOTH the dead and living. NO one escapes Him.
The Bible tells us the prayer of a righteous person [to God, to Christ, to the Holy Spirit] does much. God, Christ, and the Holy Spirit are FAR more righteous than Savior-needing Mary and similar saints!
Proverbs 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked: and he will hear the prayers [to God, to Christ, to the Holy Spirit] of the just.
James 5:16 Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray [to God, to Christ, to the Holy Spirit] one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man [to God, to Christ, to the Holy Spirit] avails much.
Revelations 8:4 And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints [to God, to Christ, to the Holy Spirit] ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.
Where's Mary in all this? "Where's the beef?"
The obvious problem with indulgences is that they negate the all-sufficiency of Christ's complete sacrifice for us (not our partial weak-ass sacrifices for Him) on His cross.
It was Jesus who took our complete punishment. HE took our place so that we do not have to suffer any eternal punishment for our sins because by His sacrifice for us He has already made us completely right with God.
That is not to say that our sins do not "merit" consequential punishments in this temporal life. We are saying that being made right with God is not by our just or injust sufferings, but by Christ's alone.
' No human arrogance or boasting allowed by that!
"But He was pierced through for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening against our misconduct fell upon Him, and by His scourging we are healed. All of us like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to his own way. But the Lord has caused the iniquity of us all to fall on Him." (Isaiah 53:4-6).
The Second Vatican Council, p. 63, heretically mentions "purgatory" as a place of punishment for our sins: "The truth has been divinely revealed that sins are followed by punishments. God's holiness and justice inflict them. Sins must be expiated. This may be done on this earth through the sorrows, miseries and trials of this life and, above all, through death. Otherwise the expiation must be made in the next life through fire and torments or purifying punishments."
Indulgences are imposed in catholicism due to the anti-biblical teaching of purgatory, which the Roman Catholic Church teaches is a place of punishment where people expiate their own sins there by suffering they themselves supposedly endure.
Expiation is "a term associated with the removal, cleansing, or forgiveness of sin." But how does a person expiate or cleanse himself of his own sins? He doesn't. If there were a means by which we could cleanse ourselves on our own sins, then God would have provided that.
"I do not nullify the grace of God; for if righteousness comes through the Law, then Christ died needlessly," (Gal. 2:21).
Nevertheless, out of the teaching of purgatory, and temporal punishment comes the teaching of indulgences: a means by which punishment for sin is reduced through a person's own sufferings. How horrible is this teaching since it reduces the power and glory of the cross and says we can expiate our own sins, instead of trusting in Christ alone for this!
The Roman Catholic Church needs to recant its false teaching and urge its people to look to Christ alone and not to its mediatorship, its priesthood, its treasury of merit, its sacraments, or its rules and regulations for the salvation of souls.
The indulgences practice is not a Biblical teaching.
Christians who base spiritual truth on the Bible alone discern problems with the doctrine of purgatory.
1. It is not explicitly found in the Bible.
2. It implies that the righteousness of Christ does completely not cleanse from all sin.
3. It implies that justification is not by faith alone.
4. It implies that there is something we must do in order to atone for our own sins by ourselves.
Jesus bore our sins in His body, paid the penalty for them, and died. He said, "It is finished." In Greek, the phrase, "It is finished" is one word: tetelestai. In ancient Greek papyri texts that were receipts for taxes, when a debt was paid in full, the word tetelestai was written on the document.
This meant that the debt had been paid in full. In other words, Jesus finished the work of atonement. But not only atonement (to make amends, to make right), but also of propitiation (turning away God's wrath). He has fully paid the debt invoked by the sinner. There was nothing more to be done in terms of any present or future self-atonement or self-redemptive whatevers. It is and was finished. Period.
Yet, the doctrine of purgatory - in effect - errantly implies that we must temporarily suffer in purgatory for sins not covered by baptism and not covered by the cross. It is to say that the work of Christ is not finished and that there are things we must do to complete the sacrificial, cleansing work of Christ.
That complete atonement which Christ provided which applies to us does not mean that now we are not obligated to live according to Biblical laws. We are to strive for the purity without which no one will see the Lord. And living in accord with all applicable moral Biblical laws must not be misconstrued as "works righteousness" or something to boast about or something to add to our redemptive atonement established only by Christ Himself.
So there is no earning entrance into heaven by our good or evil works, even temporal works of enduring suffering. The doctrine of Purgatory implies that a person must partially atone for his own sins by - in this case - some indeterminate application of torture in the afterlife. It implies that the person must do more than what the Law of God requires of him. This is called supererogation.
When Jesus said, "It is finished," all that was necessary in the atonement was concluded and all in Christ were justified. We cannot complete or add to Christ's work through our suffering. Purgatory is not only unnecessary, but it contradicts God's Word.
The Christian church has objected to the doctrine of Purgatory by stating that this teaching denies the sufficiency and full efficacy of Christ's atoning sacrifice. To say that our sins are expiated by our suffering is an insult to the cross of Christ since it says that the cross was not sufficient to cleanse us of our sins. It says that we must suffer, that we must do something to have our sins fully cleansed. Instead, genuine Christians maintain that the ONE sacrifice of Jesus alone is what justifies and removes from us all guilt - not the questionable acts (good or evil) of us ourselves, not of some human priest, not of some pope. We look to the cross and to Christ's cross alone for the complete forgiveness of our sins and, though our works will one day be judged, we have passed out of condemnation (Rom. 8:1). Our works reflect on rewards in heaven, not a means to get us into or out of Heaven. Jesus bore all our sins (1 Pet. 2:24).
There are no sins left for purgatory to cleanse because it was all done by Jesus on the cross. This is why Jesus said, "It is finished," (John 19:30). In Greek the term "it is finished" is "tetelestai." It was a term used in legal contexts to state that a debt had been paid in full. Therefore, there is no need for purgatory.
Indeed, Scripture states that "Now is the acceptable time. Now is the day of salvation." There is no room for the heresy and irrationalization of: "I can live like the Devil now and then here and now, and after I die I can then work it out in Purgatory."
Nevertheless, because the Protestants appeal so much to the Bible, the Catholics have sought to find the doctrine of Purgatory within its pages. One such verse they misapply is First Corinthians 3:15 which reads:
"If any mans work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire."
As with any verse in the Bible, to fully understand it, we must look at it in its Biblical immediate and broader context.
Following is 1 Cor. 3:10-15
"According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it. For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each mans work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each mans work. If any mans work which he has built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any mans work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire."
The context speaks of Paul having planted the Corinthian church and that another person was building upon that work: verse 6 says, "I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth." Paul goes on to say that unless a person builds upon the foundation of Jesus, his work will be burned up the in the day of judgment (v. 13). See also, 1 Cor. 5:5; 2 Cor. 1:14; 1 Thess. 5:2).
Paul is simply using the terms that are familiar with the people of the time. Fire was the tool used to purify metals and to get rid of that which was unwanted, the dross. So too, on the day when our works are examined, the fire of judgment will both purify and remove. This will not affect our salvation, but it will affect our rewards. The theme of fire used as purification is also found in Second Peter 3:10-13. But this is not talking about becoming saved or staying saved.
First Corinthians 3:15 does not teach purgatory as a place we go to in order to have some of our sins cleansed from us. It teaches that even though the person is justified by faith and cannot face damnation, his works will, however, be judged on "that Day." Those works which are good will survive the fires of judgment the way gold, silver, and precious stones can survive fire. But false works will be consumed the way fire consumes wood, hay, and straw. What is left has no bearing on whether or not we are saved. It has to do with rewards in Heaven.
Paul goes on to say in First Corinthians 4:5 "Therefore do not go on passing judgment before the time, but wait until the Lord comes who will both bring to light the things hidden in the darkness and disclose the motives of human hearts; and then each human's praise will come to him from God."
Note also, First Peter 1:6-7 "In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Second Peter 3:10-13, "But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, on account of which the heavens will be dissolved by burning, and the elements will vaporize with fervent heat! But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness resides."
Purgatory is a dangerous doctrine that makes the Cross of Christ insufficient by requiring the person to undergo suffering in order to be made worthy of being with God. This is a false teaching and is to be avoided. We are justified by faith (Rom. 5:1), not by faith and works (Rom. 3:28), although we are justified by works not faith alone (James 2:24). That paradox is resolved by ultimately stating that we are justified by Jesus Christ, not non-reliable human faith nor mixed-bag human works.
Transubstantiation is the teaching that during the Mass, at the consecration in the Lord's Supper (Communion), the elements of the Eucharist, bread and wine, are transformed into the actual body and blood of Jesus and that they are no longer bread and wine, but only retain their appearance of bread and wine.
The "Real Presence" is the catholic term referring to Christ's alleged actual human-form presence (with such body parts of nose, fingernails, rectum, penis, prostate, etc.) in the elements of ...the bread and the wine that have been "transubstantiated."
The Mass contains a series of rituals leading up to the Lord's Supper which also contains a pathetic human reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ.
Furthermore, transubstantiation states that the substance of the elements are miraculously changed, even though their appearance is not. In other words, the bread and wine will appear as bread and wine under close scientific examination, but the true substance is mystically the DNA-coded, red-and-white-blood-celled, chromosomed-corpuscled living Body and Blood of Christ. Synonymous with transubstantiation is the doctrine of the Real Presence.
Where transubstantiation is the process of the change, the real presence is the result of that change. In other words, the doctrine of the real presence states that the bread and wine contain the actual presence of Christ in cannibalistic bodily form as a result of the process of transubstantiation.
Roman Catholicism states that the incarnation of Christ itself, where Jesus was a man but contained an invisible divine nature, is analogous to the the doctrine of The Real Presence.
Some misapplied verses used to perpetuate this heresy are the following:
• Matthew 26:28, "this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins."
• John 6:52 The Jews therefore began to argue with one another, saying, How can this man give us His flesh to eat?
53 Jesus therefore said to them, 'Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.'"
• First Corinthians 11:27, " Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord."
Can we conclude from the above verses that the Communion Supper actually involves the change of the elements into the mystical Body and Blood of Christ? Let's take a look.
First - there is no indication that the words were meant to be literal
No where in scripture do we find this teaching. We see scriptures refer to the elements as the body and blood, but we also see Jesus clearly stating that the words He was speaking were spiritual words when talking about "eating" His "flesh" and "drinking" His "blood:"
"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life" (John 6:63). He did not say they were literal words; that is, He did not say that they were His actual body and blood.
The non-spiritual person does not understand things merely meant to be only spiritually understood, as it states in First Corinthians.
But, a Catholic might object and say that Jesus clearly said, "This is My blood..." and "This is my body..." This was true.
Jesus also said: "Lazarus is not dead but sleeping" which saying was logically responded to by His disciples essentially saying: "So what? What's the big deal? Why mention that? Leave him alone, and he will normally wake up like people typically wake up after a good night's rest or after a nap."
But Jesus frequently spoke in spiritual terms: "I am the bread of life," (John 6:48) [was that rye, pumpernickel, or whole wheat?]; "I am the door," (John 10:7,9) [a piece of carpentry?]; "I am the true vine," (John 15:1) [garden vegetation?], etc. In the context of John 6, Jesus is telling His disciples that they must spiritually "eat" His "body" and "drink" His "blood" (John 6:53). He clearly says He was speaking in spiritual terms, "...the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life," (John 6:63).
Second - the elements of the communion supper were still referred to as bread and wine.
After The institution of the communion supper, both the elements were still referred to as bread and wine.
"And while they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you; for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins. "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom," (Matt. 26:26-29).
After Jesus said, "This is my blood," (Matt. 26:28), he said, "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Fathers kingdom," (Matt. 26:29). Why would Jesus speak figuratively of His blood as "the fruit of the vine" if it was his literal blood? He called it wine - not "blood."
"For I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus in the night in which He was betrayed took bread; and when He had given thanks, He broke it, and said, "This is My [naked or clothed?] body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me." In the same way He took the cup also, after supper, saying, "This cup [and was that an alabaster, copper, or a glass cup?] is the new covenant [the WHAT?] in My blood [in your WHAT?]; do this, as often [or seldom, or whenever?] as you drink it, in remembrance of Me." For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup [drink that metal or alabaster cup in pieces or all at once, which non-digestible monstrosity or shard fragments will hopefully not get stuck in your throat], you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes. Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of the bread and drink of the cup," (1 Cor. 11:23-28).
If the elements were changed and were really bread and wine, then why does Paul refer to the element of bread as bread and not the literal body of Christ?
Third - there is no indication the disciples thought the elements changed
There is no indication in the Biblical accounts of the Last Supper that the disciples thought that the bread and wine changed into the actual body and blood of Christ. Are we to believe that the disciples who were sitting right there with Jesus, actually thought that what Jesus was holding in his hands was his literal body and blood? There is - understandably - NO indication that they thought this.
Fourth - there is no indication the disciples worshipped the elements
We see no indication at all that the disciples worshipped the elements. The adoration of the Eucharist is practiced during the Mass. Catholicism says, "Moreover, the Catholic Church has held firm to this belief in the presence of Christ's Body and Blood in the Eucharist not only in her teaching but in her life as well, since she has at all times paid this great Sacrament the worship known as "latria," which may be given to God alone."
Where is the worship given the sacrament by the disciples anywhere in the New Testament? It is not there.
Fifth - the supper was instituted before Jesus' crucifixion
The Mass is supposed to be a reenactment of the sacrifice of Christ. Therefore, according to Roman Catholic theology, the bread and wine become the broken body and shed blood of Christ and are, somehow, the crucified body and blood of Christ.. But how can this be since Jesus instituted the Supper before He was crucified? Are we to conclude that at the Last Supper, when they were all at the table, that when Jesus broke the bread it actually became His sacrificial body -- even though the sacrifice had not yet happened? Likewise are we to conclude that when Jesus gave the wine that it became His actual sacrificial blood -- even though the sacrifice had not yet happened? That would make no sense at all.
Sixth - the Roman Catholic view is a violation of Levitical Law
The Roman Catholic interpretation of the Eucharist requires the participant to eat human flesh and drink human blood. Remember, Roman Catholicism teaches that the bread and the wine become the actual body and blood of Christ. Essentially, this amounts to cannibalism. What does the Scripture say concerning (and not "regarding") this?
"For as for the life of all flesh, its blood is identified with its life. Therefore I said to the sons of Israel, You are not to eat the blood of any flesh, for the life of all flesh is its blood; whoever eats it shall be cut off," (Lev. 17:14).
Notice that the scripture says that you are not to eat the blood of any flesh. It would certainly appear that the Roman Catholic view is in contradiction to the Old Testament scripture since it advocates the eating of the blood of Christ. To the RCC it is not just symbolic, it is the actual eating and drinking of the body of Christ.
Some Roman Catholics responded by saying that Jesus had instituted the new and everlasting covenant in which the sacrificed body and blood of Christ was reality.
Indeed, before Christ's crucifixion, He had stated: "by my words you have been made clean." That was said way before the Last Supper supposedly sanctified anyone, and even before the actual atonement-related crucifixion on Calvary's Golgatha.
Therefore, because it was a new covenant it was also the sacrificed body and blood. But this cannot work because the new covenant could not yet be instituted until after the death of Christ as the Scriptures state.
"And for this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, in order that since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where a covenant is, there must of necessity be the death of the one who made it," (Heb. 9:15-16).
Therefore we can conclude that the Levitical law was still in effect because the new covenant had not yet been established. So, the Roman Catholic position would have Jesus himself violating Old Testament law by having the disciples drink the blood - If it were literal blood.
Yet another response is that in Mark 7:19 it says, "'because it does not go into his heart, but into his stomach, and is eliminated?' (Thus He declared all foods clean.)" but the problem with this response is that Jesus with declaring all animals clean to eat. He was not saying it was okay to drink their blood.
Furthermore, in the Jerusalem Council in Acts 15, James the apostle gives instructions and said, "Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, 20 but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood," (Acts 15:19-20).
So, well after the ascension of Christ and the establishment of the church, the instruction is still to abstain from drinking blood.
Seventh - it is a violation against the incarnation
The Scriptural doctrine of the incarnation states that the Word which was God and was with God (John 1:1), became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). This "became flesh" involves what is known as the Hypostatic Union. This is the teaching that in the one person of Christ are two natures: divine and human. That is, Jesus is both God and man at the same time and He will forever be God and man.
Furthermore, by definition, for Jesus to be human He must be located in one place. This is the nature of being human. A finite human male does not have the ability to be omnipresent. He can only be in one place at one time.
To say that Jesus in His physical form is in more than one place at a time, is to deny the incarnation. That is, it denies that Jesus is completely and totally a man -- since a man can only be it one place at one time.
Therefore, to say that the bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ is to violate the doctrine of the incarnation by stating that Christ is physically present all over the planet as the mass is celebrated. This is a serious problem and a serious denial against the true and absolute incarnation of the Word of God as a man.
But, did not Jesus say in Matt. 28:18-20 that He would be with the disciples always, even to the ends of the earth? Is this not a declaration that Jesus will be physically present everywhere? No, this is not what is stated.
The answer is found in the teaching of the Communicatio Idiomatum.
This is the teaching that the attributes of both the divine and human nature are ascribed to the single person of Christ. It does not mean, however, that anything particular to the divine nature was communicated to the human nature.
Likewise, it does not mean that anything particular to the human nature was communicated to the divine nature. It means that the attributes of the divine nature are claimed by the person of Christ. Therefore, Jesus is omnipresent, not in His human nature, but in His divine nature.
To make this more clear, let's look at some verses that illustrate the Communicatio Idiomatum:
• John 17:5, "And now, glorify Thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was."
• John 3:13,"And no one has ascended into heaven, but He who descended from heaven, even the Son of Man."
Please notice that in these two verses, Jesus lays claim to the glory that He had with the Father before the foundation of the world. He also claims to have descended from heaven, but how could these be true since He is a man? The answer is because the attributes of the divine nature are claimed by the person of Christ. Therefore, the person of Christ could claim to have glory with the Father and could claim to descend from heaven.
But we know that the man Jesus, in the flesh, did not exist until His conception. Furthermore, this means that the two natures of Christ are distinct, yet they are in Union in the one person of Christ (the Hypostatic Union).
It further means that the attributes of the divine and the attributes of the human are not transferred to one another -- the divine does not become localized and the human does not become infinite.
If this were the case, then the nature of the divine and the nature of the human will be violated. Therefore, we can see that for Jesus to be a man, He must retain the attributes of humanity. This means that He must be localized and it means He cannot be physically omnipresent. If He were, by definition He would not be a man. But the Roman Catholic position is that the bread and wine become the actual body and blood of Christ and this violates the doctrine of the incarnation.
Therefore, transubstantiation cannot be the correct teaching of Scripture.
Eighth - the Lord's Supper is not a sacrifice of Christ
The Bible tells us:
"By this will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. And every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified, (Heb. 10:10-14).
In the Roman Catholic Mass, there is a sacrifice of Christ. In other words, in the ceremonies, is a reenactment and an actual sacrifice of Christ per the Mass. This is an obvious contradiction to the Scriptures which teach us that Christ died once for all and that by the one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified. It does not state in the Word of God that the sacrifice of Christ must be repeated in order to forgive us of our sins or somehow help us to maintain our salvation by the infusion of grace. The fact that Christ died once and the sacrifice occurred once, is proof that it is sufficient to cleanse us of our sins. We connect with the sacrifice of Christ by faith, not by a ceremony.
It should be obvious to anyone who believes the word of God, that the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation is not biblical. For the reasons listed above, we urge that Roman Catholics recognize that Jesus Christ died once for all and that there is no need to participate in a ritual where His re-sacrifice is practiced.
Finally, because the sacrifice of Christ was once for all, it is sufficient to save us and we do not need to maintain our salvation by our efforts or by our participation in the Lord's supper. It is not a means of grace that secures our salvation or infuses into us the grace needed that then enables us to maintain our salvation by our non-reliable works and even our part-time fallible faith that God will provide. Instead, we are made right before God by Jesus.
- "being justified as a gift by His [human-faith-enabling human-works-enabling] grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus," (Rom. 3:24).
- "Therefore we conclude that a human is justified by faith [trustfully believing in faith alone, in self-esteem-enhancing confidence alone?] without works of [obedience to?] the law," (Rom. 3:28).
-"For what says the Scripture? Abraham believed God [even the demons believe and shudder], and it was counted to him for righteousness," (Rom. 4:3).
-"For the promise to Abraham or to his descendants that he would be heir of the world was not through the Law, but through the righteousness of faith [in WHO?]," (Rom. 4:13).
-"Therefore being justified by [our frequently-unreliable?] faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ," (Rom. 5:1).
-"that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved [if you don't intend to occasionally live like the Devil and thus continue in sin]," (Rom. 10:9). - "a human is justified by [always doing good] works, not by [non-predictable-and-inconsistent] faith alone" (James 2:24).
The Apocrypha consists of a set of books written between approximately 400 B.C. and the time of Christ.
The word "apocrypha" means "Hidden." These books consist of 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, the Rest of Esther, the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, (also titled Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, The Letter of Jeremiah, Song of the Three Young Men, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, The Additions to Daniel, The Prayer of Manasseh, and 1 and 2 Maccabees.
The genuine Christian Church rejects the apocrypha as being inspired, as do the Jews, but in 1546 the Roman Catholic Church "officially" declared some of the apocryphal books to belong to the canon of scripture. These are Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (also known as Ecclesiasticus), and Baruch.
The apocryphal books are written in Greek, not Hebrew (except for Ecclesiasticus, 1 Maccabees, a part of Judith, and Tobit), and contain some questionable and certainly needless and irrelevant historical information.
Is the Apocrypha Scripture? Authentic Christians deny its inspiration, but the Roman Catholic Church affirms it. In order to ascertain whether it is or isn't, we need to look within its pages.
Not quoted in the New Testament
First of all, neither Jesus nor the apostles ever quoted from the Apocrypha. There are over 260 quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament, and not one of them is from these books. Nevertheless, a Roman Catholic might respond by saying that there are several Old Testament books that are not quoted in the New Testament, i.e., Joshua, Judges, Esther, etc. Does this mean that they aren't inspired either? But, these books had already been accepted into the canon by the Jews, where the Apocrypha had not. The Jews recognized the Old Testament canon and they did not include the Apocrypha in it. This is significant because of what Paul says:
"Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?
Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God," (Rom. 3:1-2).
Paul tells us that the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. This means that they are the ones who understood what inspired Scriptures were and they never accepted the Apocrypha.
Jesus references the Old Testament: The Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms
"Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled," (Luke 24:44).
Did the Church fathers recognized the Apocrypha as being Scripture? Roman Catholics strongly appeal to Church history but we don't find a unanimous consensus on the Apocrypha. Jerome (340-420) who translated the Latin Vulgate which is used by the RC church, rejected the Apocrypha since he believed that the Jews recognized and established the proper canon of the Old Testament.
Remember, the Christian Church built upon that recognition. Also, Josephus the famous Jewish historian of the First Century never mentioned the Apocrypha as being part of the canon either. In addition, "Early church fathers like Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, and the great Roman Catholic translator Jerome spoke out against the Apocrypha." So, we should not conclude that the Church fathers unanimously affirmed the Apocrypha. They did NOT.
Errors in the Apocrypha
If the Apocrypha is a Scripture, then it should not have any errors. But since it does have errors, as will be demonstrated below, this puts into question whether or not the Roman Catholic Church has properly used its self-proclaimed position as the teaching authority of the Christian Church. If it can error in such an important manner as what is Scripture, can it be trusted to properly teach the Christian Church? The following references can be verified at http://www.newadvent.org/bible.
When we look into the apocrypha itself, we find numerous problems. For example, we see it advocating magic where the smoke of a fish heart on a fire drives away devils.
a. It condones the use of magic:
Tobit 6:5-7, "Then the angel said to him: Take out the entrails of this fish, and lay up his heart, and his gall, and his liver for thee: for these are necessary for useful medicines. 6 And when he had done so, he roasted the flesh thereof, and they took it with them in the way: the rest they salted as much as might serve them, till they came to Rages the city of the Medes. 7 Then Tobias asked the angel, and said to him: I beseech thee, brother Azarias, tell me what remedies are these things good for, which thou hast bid me keep of the fish? 8 And the angel, answering, said to him: If thou put a little piece of its heart upon coals, the smoke thereof driveth away all kind of devils, either from man or from woman, so that they come no more to them."
Is it true that the smoke from a fish's heart, when burned, drives away evil spirits? Of course not. Such a superstitious teaching has no place in the word of God.
b. It teaches that forgiveness of sins is by human effort, by human works:
• Tobit 4:11, "For alms deliver from all sin, and from death, and will not suffer the soul to go into darkness."
• Tobit 12:9, "For alms delivereth from death, and the same is that which purgeth away sins, and maketh to find mercy and life everlasting."
We know from Scripture that alms (money or food, given to the poor or needy as charity) does not purge our sins. The blood of Christ is what cleanses us, not money or food given to poor people. "but if we walk in the light as He Himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin," (1 John 1:7).
c. It advocates giving money as an offering for the sins of the dead:
Second Maccabbees 12:43, "And making a gathering, he sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection."
Can anyone truly accept that money isn't offering for the sins of dead people? Such a superstitious and non-Biblical concept has no place in Scripture.
Wrong historical facts:
•Judith 1:5, "Now in the twelfth year of his reign, Nabuchodonosor, king of the Assyrians, who reigned in Ninive the great city, fought against Arphaxad and overcame him."
•Baruch 6:2, "And when you are come into Babylon, you shall be there many years, and for a long time, even to seven generations: and after that I will bring you away from thence with peace."
The book of Judith incorrectly says that Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Assyrians when he was the king of the Babylonians.
Baruch 6:2 says the Jews would serve in Babylon for seven generations where Jeremiah 25:11 says it was for 70 years. "And this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years."
Obviously the Apocrypha has serious problems. From magic, to salvation by works, to money as an offering for the sins of the dead, and blatant incorrect historical facts, it is full of false and anti-Biblical teachings. It is not inspired of God, but infested with man's false tradition, rather than God's absolute truth.
Reasons why the Apocrypha does not belong in the Bible
Catholics and bonafide Christians disagree regarding the exact number of books that belong in the Old Testament Scriptures.
The dispute between them is over seven books, part of what is known as the Apocrypha: 1 and 2 Maccabees, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus), Wisdom (Wisdom of Solomon), Baruch, Tobit, Judith, and additions to Daniel and Esther 1.
There are a number of reasons why the Old Testament Apocrypha should not be part of the Canon, or standard writings of Scripture.
Rejection by Jesus and the Apostles
1. There are no clear, definite New Testament quotations from the Apocrypha by Jesus or the apostles. While there may be various allusions by the New Testament to the Apocrypha, there are no authoritative statements like "thus says the Lord," "as it is written," or "the Scriptures say." There are references in the New Testament to the pseudepigrapha (literally “false writings”) (Jude 14-15) and even citations from pagan sources (Acts 17:22-34), but none of these are cited as Scripture and are rejected even by Roman Catholics.
In contrast, the New Testament writers cite the Old Testament numerous times (Matthew 5; Luke 24:27; John 10:35) and use phrases such as "thus says the Lord," "as it is written," or "the Scriptures say," indicating their approval of these books as inspired by God.
2. Jesus implicitly rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture by referring to the entire accepted Jewish Canon of Scripture, “From the blood of Abel [Gen. 4:8] to the blood of Zechariah [2 Chron. 24:20], who was killed between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation (Lk. 11:51; cf. Mt. 23:35).”
Abel was the first martyr in the Old Testament from the book of Genesis, while Zechariah was the last martyr in the book of Chronicles. In the Hebrew Canon, the first book was Genesis and the last book was Chronicles. They contained all of the same books as the standard 39 books accepted by Protestants today, but they were just arranged differently. For example, all of the 12 minor prophets (Hosea through Malachi) were contained in one book. This is why there are only 24 books in the Hebrew Bible today. By Jesus referring to Abel and Zachariah, He was canvassing the entire Canon of the Hebrew Scriptures which included the same 39 books as Protestants accept today. Therefore, Jesus implicitly rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture.
Rejection by the Jewish Community
3. The "oracles of God" were given to the Jews (Rom. 3:2) and they rejected the Old Testament Apocrypha as part of this inspired revelation. Interestingly, Jesus had many disputes with the Jews, but He never disputed with them regarding the extent of the inspired revelation of God.
4. The Dead Sea scrolls provide no commentary on the Apocrypha, but do provide commentary on some of the Jewish Old Testament books. This probably indicates that the Jewish Essene community did not regard them as highly as the Jewish Old Testament books.
5. Many ancient Jews rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture. Philo never quoted the Apocrypha as Scripture. Josephus explicitly rejected the Apocrypha and listed the Hebrew Canon to be 22 books.
Rejection by many in the Catholic Church
6. The Catholic Church has not always accepted the Apocrypha. The Apocrypha was not officially accepted by the Catholic Church at a "universal" council until 1546 at the Council of Trent. This is over a millennium and a half after the books were written, and was a counter-reaction to the Protestant Reformation.
7. Many church Fathers rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture, and many just used them for devotional purposes. For example, Jerome, the great Biblical scholar and translator of the Latin Vulgate, rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture though, supposedly under pressure, he did make a hurried translation of it. In fact, most of the church fathers in the first four centuries of the Church rejected the Apocrypha as Scripture. Along with Jerome, names include Cyril of Jerusalem and Athanasius.
8. The Apocryphal books were placed in Bibles before the Council of Trent and after, but were placed in a separate section because they were not considered of equal authority. The Apocrypha rightfully has some commentary possibilities, but it is not inspired.
9. The Apocrypha contains a number of false teachings (see: Errors in the Apocrypha). (To check the following references, see http://www.newadvent.org/bible.)
• The command to use magic (Tobit 6:5-7).
• Forgiveness of sins by alms-giving (Tobit 4:11; 12:9).
• Offering of money for the sins of the dead (2 Maccabees 12:43-45).
10. The Apocryphal books do not share many of the characteristics of the Canonical books: they are not prophetic, there is no supernatural confirmation of any of the apocryphal writers works, there is no predictive prophecy, there is no new Messianic truth revealed, they are not cited as authoritative by any prophetic book written after them, and they even acknowledge that there were no prophets in Israel at their time (cf. 1 Macc. 9:27; 14:41).