Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jesus Christ, the New Temple

Christians often approach the Temple prophesies found in Ezekiel 40-48 in one of two ways.  Either they'll conclude they're about another literal Temple to be built in Jerusalem, rushing off to the latest ends-times theory, or they'll write them off as hopelessly obtuse prophesy.  I think Jesus makes it clear Who the Temple is, and I think that this has profound implications for how we understand Him, the Church, and His Mother.

I. Ezekiel and the New Temple

The last eight chapters of the Book of Ezekiel are dedicated to a single subject: the incredibly-detailed description of a Temple that Ezekiel sees in a vision.  

A bit of historical background is important here: the Book of Ezekiel covers a series of prophesies that Ezekiel recounts from about 592 - 570 B.C.  That timeline is very important (all dates here are approximate):
  • 597 B.C: The Babylonians depose King Jehoiachin of Judah, sending him and some of the prominent Jews (including a then twenty-five year old Ezekiel) into exile.  Thus begins the Babylonian Captivity, although many Jews are still in Jerusalem.
  • 592 B.C.: Ezekiel has his first prophetic experience (described in Ezekiel 1), and spends the next five years foretelling the destruction of the Temple of Jerusalem.
  • 587 B.C.: The Babylonians destroy the Temple of Jerusalem (the First Temple).
  • 573 B.C.: Ezekiel has the Temple visions, in “the twenty-fifth year of our exile, at the beginning of the year, on the tenth of the month, in the fourteenth year after the fall of the city” (Ezekiel 40:1).  
  • 538 B.C.: The Babylonian Captivity ends. Ezekiel is dead by this point, but the events are described in the Book of Daniel.
In other words, at the time Ezekiel is prophesying and writing, Israel is being crushed by the Babylonians and driven into exile.  And these final eight chapters in particular are written after Jerusalem is destroyed, and all looks lost for the Jewish people. So Ezekiel's Temple vision is important because, if nothing else, it's God showing His people that the fight isn't over, and that they'll come out triumphant.

II. The Second Temple

The visions Ezekiel receives are of a Temple far more incredible than the one that they lost in 587 B.C. In fact, the Temple has some apparently supernatural properies: the cleansing waters flowing from its east side even turned salt water fresh (Ezekiel 47:8). So when the Jews were finally returned from exile, they were quite reasonably excited about the new Temple. But after their return, they're instructed to build a Second Temple that's apparently inferior to the First. In fact, even as the crowds are cheering the groundbreaking of the Second Temple, “many of the priests and Levites and heads of fathers’ households, the old men who had seen the first temple, wept with a loud voice when the foundation of this house was laid before their eyes” (Ezra 3:12).  This Second Temple was not the great Temple Ezekiel had described.

But God hadn't broken His promises.  In fact, He acknowledged that this Second Temple appeared inferior to the First, but promised it would be destined for greater glory, and that He remained faithful to what He had promised (Haggai 2:1-9):
On the twenty-first of the seventh month, the word of the LORD came by Haggai the prophet saying, “Speak now to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and to the remnant of the people saying, ‘Who is left among you who saw this temple in its former glory? And how do you see it now? Does it not seem to you like nothing in comparison? But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the LORD, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the LORD, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the LORD of hosts.  ‘As for the promise which I made you when you came out of Egypt, My Spirit is abiding in your midst; do not fear!’ 
For thus says the LORD of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land. I will shake all the nations; and they will come with the wealth of all nations, and I will fill this house with glory,’ says the LORD of hosts. ‘The silver is Mine and the gold is Mine,’ declares the LORD of hosts. ‘The latter glory of this house will be greater than the former,’ says the LORD of hosts, ‘and in this place I will give peace,’ declares the LORD of hosts.”
As time goes on, this prophesy starts to become clearer.  From Malachi we can say both why the Second Temple would be greater than the First, and how the Lord intended to fill His House with glory: by entering the Temple Himself: “Then suddenly the Lord you are seeking will come to His Temple; the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, will come” (Malachi 3:1).  It's in Jesus Christ that God fulfills both these Second Temple prophesies, and the Temple Prophesies of Ezekiel.

III. Jesus Christ, the New Temple


Giotto, Casting Out the Money Changers (14th century).
Jesus Christ IS the LORD of host.  And He fulfills the prophesies in Haggai 2:1-9 and Malachi 3:1 by visiting the Second Temple in Person.   He first went as an Infant, where He's blessed by Simeon (Luke 2:27-35), and by the age of twelve, it was here that He taught the scholars of the law (Lk. 2:46-47).  As an adult, He purified the Temple, and in the process, referred to the Temple as “My House” (Matthew 21:12-13).  He then proceeded to teach from the Temple courts (Mt. 21:23).  Because this is the Temple that the Incarnate Christ frequented, it possessed the Glory of the LORD in a way that the first Temple didn't.

But even as He purifies and glorifies the Second Temple, He shows Himself to be the greater Temple: the One that Ezekiel prophesied.  He returns to this theme repeatedly.  In Matthew 12:6, He makes the shocking claim, “I tell you that something greater than the temple is here” before declaring Himself “Lord of the Sabbath” (Mt. 12:8).  It's hard for modern readers to get just how shocking this claim is, but consider this: when Christ foretells the destruction of the Second Temple, the Disciples assume He's referring to His Second Coming at the end of the world (Mt. 24:1-3).

The most important of the claims Christ makes about Himself as the Temple is found in John 2:18-22,
The Jews then responded to him, “What sign can you show us to prove your authority to do all this?” 

Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” 
They replied, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and you are going to raise it in three days?” But the temple he had spoken of was his body. After he was raised from the dead, his disciples recalled what he had said. Then they believed the scripture and the words that Jesus had spoken.
This claim that would be used at Jesus' trial to condemn Him for blasphemy, with the speakers claiming that Jesus had actually threatened to destroy the Temple Himself (Matthew 26:59-61).  And it was for this claim that He was mocked from the Cross (Mt. 27:40).

But this notion that Jesus' Body is the New Temple is an incredible one.  We see it all over the place, once we know to look for it.  For example, when Jesus died on the Cross, the veil of the Second Temple was torn in two (Matthew 27:51, Mark 15:38, Luke 23:45).  Hebrews 10:20 specifically cites to this torn veil as a symbol of the opening of Heaven, in that “we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the Blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His Body.”  So that's yet another image of Christ as the New Temple.

And it's here on the Cross that a soldier lances Jesus' side, which flows forth Blood and water (John 19:34).  Medically, this shows that He's Dead, and probably that His pericardial sac had burst.  But this also has symbolic significance (1 John 5:6-8).  The water and Blood parallel Baptism and the Eucharist.  This image fulfills Ezekiel's prophesy that rivers of saving waters will flow forth from the side of the Temple:  “Swarms of living creatures will live wherever the river flows. There will be large numbers of fish, because this water flows there and makes the salt water fresh; so where the river flows everything will live” (Ezekiel 47:9).  Indeed, the saving waters are seen both in the waters showing up that Christ's saving Death on the Cross was accomplished, and in the waters of Baptism by which we're saved (1 Peter 3:21).

Fascinatingly, Jesus actually hints at all of this early on, in John 7:37-38.  I'll let Mark Shea explain:
So, during the Feast of Tabernacles, Jesus announces to the crowd, “If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water’” (Jn 7:37-38). As we already know, Jesus uses the image of living water to refer to the Holy Spirit (cf. Jn 4). Yet curiously, there’s no passage in Old Testament Scripture that says, “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.” What, then, is Jesus referring to?

He is referring to Ezekiel 47 and following. After all, Jesus has already told us what the true temple is when He declared, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up” (Jn 2:19). As John makes crystal clear, “He spoke of the temple of his body” (Jn 2:21). So Jesus is declaring to all at the Feast of Tabernacles that Ezekiel’s vision is not a physical description of a stone building, but a spiritual description of the true temple, the Body of Christ. For the same reason, John says that Jesus “tabernacled” among us (Jn 1:14) when He became man. Paul makes the same connection, referring both to individual Christians and to the mystical Body of Christ as the temple (1 Cor 3:16-17; Eph 2:21).
Hopefully, you've noticed that Ezekiel's references to the New Temple don't just prefigure Christ's physical Body.  They also prefigure His Mystical Body, the Church (Romans 12:5; 1 Corinthians 12:12, 27).  His physical Body flowed forth the waters from His Heart, burst with love; His Mystical Body flows forth the waters of Baptism, from the heart of the Church.

IV. Mary as the Temple Gate

Given all of this, I wanted to focus on the Marian implications as well, based on a question I'd received on that recently.  Saturday's post showed how Scripture presents Mary as the Ark of the New Covenant, with her visitation of Elizabeth (Luke 1:39-56) a remarkable parallel to the Ark of the Covenant's visitation of Obededom (2 Samuel 6:2-14).  But what do we mean when we call her the Temple Gate?  It's a reference to a specific part of Ezekiel's prophesy (Ez.44:1-2):
Then the man brought me back to the outer gate of the sanctuary, the one facing east, and it was shut. The LORD said to me, “This gate is to remain shut. It must not be opened; no one may enter through it. It is to remain shut because the LORD, the God of Israel, has entered through it.
If Jesus Christ is the Temple, who or what is the Temple Gate?  It's Mary.  Mary is the Gate through which Jesus entered the world.  John 1:14 says Jesus “tabernacled” among us.  This was first accomplished inside Mary's womb, just as the gate surrounds the Temple where the tabernacle is stored.  She was given the astonishing task to nurture, guard, and nourish the omnipotent God of the Universe in her womb, where He dwelt for nine months.  At His most vulnerable, as a tiny Fetus, He chose to rely on her.

Of course, if Mary is the Temple Gate, the obvious implication of Ezekiel 44:1-2 would be that she was permanently consecrated to God in a very particular way, a way that necessitated her perpetual Virginity.  No one else entered the world through the Temple Gate.  Here's where it gets interesting.  It so happens that the Apostles taught that Mary was, in fact, a perpetual Virgin, if the earliest Christians can be trusted. Shea again:
Patristic sources who affirm that Mary’s perpetual virginity was taught by the apostles include the author of the Protoevangelium of James, Origen, Hilary of Poitiers, Athanasius, Epiphanius of Salamis, Jerome, Didymus the Blind, Ambrose of Milan, Pope Siricius I, Augustine, Leporius, Cyril of Alexandria, Pope Leo I, and the dogmatic teaching of the Second Ecumenical Council of Constantinople. And they’re only the beginning.
All of this starts to fit together neatly.  Jesus's Body (both Physical and Mystical) is the Temple.  Mary is the Temple Gate, since she's our Theotokos (God-bearer), to borrow the title used to refer to her at the Council of Ephesus in 431.

But this suggests something more: not only is Mary pure and consecrated to God in a particular way, but she's also a mother and protector.  Gates aren't just containers, they're defensive fortifications.  And that gets us back to passages like Revelation 12, where we see the Mother of Jesus in Heaven (Rev. 12:1-5), as part of some pretty epic spiritual warfare against the devil.  Satan keeps attacking Mary, who remains supernaturally protected from his advances (Rev. 12:13-16), which comports with the whole Catholic belief that she was kept free from sin .  When the devil can't get to Mary, he goes for us: “Then the dragon was enraged at the woman and went off to make war against the rest of her offspring—those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus” (Rev. 12:17).  This certainly looks like Scripture is depicting Mary as a mother and a sure defense for Christians.

48 comments:

  1. If the Woman was Israel, and given that Rev 12 covers thousands of years of history, I would expect there to be a passing reference to the Woman trying to snuff out her Son that rules with Iron, and her other remnant children.

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  2. @Joe: You, yourself said that the last part of Ezekiel concerning the temple is incredibly-detailed. How are the dimensions, as an example, even a parallel? Also, if you say Christ is the temple, how can Mary be the gate since it is a section of the temple? How is she a section of Christ? It just doesn't make sense other than to be a literal temple. [Taylor Marshall, whom you recommend, had blogs about the two witnesses in which he cited 'church fathers' whom acknowledge Elijah and Enoch coming at the time of the Antichrist; but Rev. 11:1-3 says to "measure the temple" and it would be "trampled on". Excuse the grammar (but): ain't nobody tramplin' on Christ. That said, the Rev. 11 temple must also be literal; say, the beginnings of the Third Temple. (I say the beginnings since, concerning that temple, the outer court wasn't measured whereas the inner court was. So the two witnesses will come and build part of the temple or come when it is partly built.)]
    @Daniel: If Rev. 12 hasn't happened yet, how can it cover thousands of years of history? But, there are parallels from biblical history within Rev. 12.

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  3. Partially built, not partly built. [Oh, who cares. There's no foolin'. My spelling/grammar/vocab is horrible.]

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  4. So...where are Satan and his demons right now? Heaven?

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  5. These posts have been the best arguments for Mary that I have ever heard. You have created a strong defense without attacking others. You have also found Protestant's true joy, which is using Old Testament prophecy for Christian theology. These OT passages are like pieces of candy that leads us into a brilliant Papist trap.

    Have you ever created a post about the Rosary? I would be very interested to hear from you about the "pre-Council of Trent" Hail Mary. There are some Lutherans and Anglicans that are returning to the practice of praying with prayer beads, so I would love to hear your take on the Rosary.

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  6. @micheal,

    again, why do you accept/follow dake et al over others?

    I think this is the first question that needs answered before offering any arguments regarding Scripture...

    In Christ
    Cary

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  7. Michael,

    You're being too literal. Are you, as part of the Body of Christ, not a section of Christ? By your reasoning, you couldn't be.

    Mary is the first section of the Body of Christ, being the first joined to Him, more physically and intimately and literally than any other person on the planet.

    Many parts of Scripture, especially allegorical (of which Revelation is heavily allegorical) can have multiple meanings.

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  8. ..."pre-Council of Trent" Hail Mary.

    Luke 1:28

    "κεχαριτωμένη" The Greek word for "Grace" ("χαρις") is nestled inside of that little participle.

    Also Luke 1:48 "...hence force all generations shall call me Blessed." (Emphasis added -- All (Greek "πᾶσαι") generations, not some.)

    I hope that is pre-Council of Trent enough for you Reverend. If that prayer was good enough for the Archangel Gabriel, then it's good enough for me.

    :-)

    There are some Lutherans and Anglicans that are returning to the practice of praying with prayer beads, so I would love to hear your take on the Rosary.

    Good for them! Our Queen Mother in Heaven, the one whose own "Yes" made all of our/their own "Yes(s)" possible, should be honored until the end of time.

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  9. @michaeladdisonbearfan

    I just want to say that you've taken some heat in the past for your tone, but now you're offering the same kind of convinction without the aggresiveness and I did not want to let it go unnoticed. I actually enjoyed your comment now and I look forward to more respectful dialogue on this blog. While I may not agree with you, I appreciate the opportunity to see your point of view and learn from your perspective.

    Carlos Olea - grimaud78

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  10. Our Lord "greatly desired" to fulfill the ancient promise of salvation history, which was the desire of the Father as well.

    "Let us see him leaping; he leaped out of heaven into the virgin, out of the womb into the manger, out of the manger into Jordan, out of Jordan to the cross, from the cross into the tomb, out of the grave into heaven."

    The image of leaping onto the cross is how he did this -- how his resolve was. If men had not provided him with a cross, the Carpenter would have built one for himself, installed it on the hill, and proceeded.

    This is what we have in the Sacred Heart.

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  11. Michael,

    I agree with Carlos -- I really appreciate your tone on this one. To answer your questions:

    1) There are plenty of incredibly detailed allegories and parables in Scripture. For example, the Song of Solomon is all allegorical, and really detailed.

    2) Mary is part of the Body of Christ, the Church, while the physical Body of Christ Tabernacled within her.

    Given that, the Temple Gate is a pretty perfect analogy. It surrounds the Temple, but in a broader sense, as you suggest, is also a part of the Temple. She surrounded the Body of Christ but is also a member of the Body of Christ.

    3) Likewise, while Christ's glorified (Physical) Body will no more be trampled, this isn't true of His Mystical Body, the Church, which has been, is, and will be trampled in times of tribulation. To see the Body of Christ trampled, one need look no further than China, or increasingly, parts of the US.

    So I don't think that the reasons you're claiming the Temple has to be literal hold up. As I said in the post, the idea that the Body of Christ is a Temple (found throughout the New Testament) is best understood as referring to both His Body in a Physical and Mystical sense.

    Given that, it seems extraneous to envision that after the First Temple, the Second Temple, and Christ, that there will be a Third (Fourth?) Temple. Since Christ is already the ultimate Temple, what could possible succeed Him?

    I.X.,

    Joe

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  12. Rev. Hans,

    Thanks! The "brilliant Papist trap" made me chuckle.

    I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for, but I wrote a post here that went into some depth about what the Rosary is and how we pray it. It didn't really address why, though. Do I understand your question right, that you're more interested in why it is that we devote so much energy to praying to Mary, rather than how one prays the Rosary?

    As for the pre-Tridentine Hail Mary, it was just the first half:

    "Hail (Mary), full of grace, blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb (Jesus)."

    Somewhere along the line, people added the names Mary and Jesus, to clarify who were talking about.

    This first half is just offering to Mary the words of two different verses from Scripture: Luke 1:28 and Luke 1:48, as Rob pointed out.

    After Trent (and really, before that, but it caught on with Trent), a request was added that Mary pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. I don't view this much differently than I view St. Paul's request for intercessory prayer in 1 Timothy 2:1-2. So that's the second half.

    The Eastern Orthodox and Eastern Catholic version of the prayer goes:

    "Theotokos (God-Bearer) and Virgin, rejoice, Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, for thou hast given birth to the Saviour of our souls."

    I'm not sure if any of this answers your question or not. If not, could you clarify what you're asking?

    I.X.,

    Joe

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  13. @Daniel: Read Job 1&2.
    @Taylor: I know I am a 'temple of the Lord' in the figurative (yet also literal) way that Paul speaks of, but this Ezekiel passage was taken way out of context.
    @Mr. Hans: Those Anglicans and Lutherans (the ones that use prayer beads) are Catholic.
    @Carlos and Joe: I do try to have a decent tone, but blasphemy offends me. Yet, also, Yeshua stated that the false prophets were considered nice.
    @Joe: A temple has nothing to do with succeeding Him, as you say. The future temple sacrifices are nothing more than a memorial/thankfulness for the OT blood covering that came before The Blood Covering, which is, in short, believing on the Lord. Glory to God! That said, there's still not enough evidence for the whole passage of Ezekiel (8/9 chapters) to be allegorical or a parallel. [Read 2Thes. If there's not a third (or even fourth) temple, how do you explain the Antichrist sitting in the temple of God, saying he is God? (You believe there's a future Antichrist, don't you?)]

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  14. @Cary: Actually I follow Perry Stone Jr. more than Dake; and Dake was a huge influence of him. So I looked into this father in faith of Perry and was wowed by his insight (although not as much as I am of Perry's). That said, your question should now be why Stone should be convicting to my spirit, no? Here's why (other than the Spirit making it OBVIOUS that one should listen to this man):
    Perry is an ordained bishop in the Church of God - Cleveland, which out of all the COG denominations, legally has the right to Church of God. The COG is pentecostal, yet believing in the five-fold ministry (Ephesians 4:11, pastoral epistles). Now if you read further into Ephesians 4, it says that these ministries are going to occur UNTIL we reach unity in the faith; and if in the time of the apostles (when Ephesians was written) there wasn't a unity in faith, then what is it now since there are tons of denominations? I say that because: this passage makes it obvious that those who teach the gifts of the Spirit have ceased are, well, way wrong. So you might as well scratch off Church of Christ/other Restorationists, almost all Baptists, and others. And speaking of doctrines from the baptists, what about unconditional election/once saved always saved (Ezekiel 18:24-32, John 8:31-32, John 15:4, Rom. 6:23, Rom. 11:22)? So scratch off Reformed Churches and others. And what about infant baptism (Mat. 14:19, Acts 2:38, Acts 16:11)? So scratch off Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, and others. Speaking of Catholics and Lutherans (and many, many others), what about Genesis 12:3? Who has harmed the Jew more than the Catholic, by action and word, and the Lutheran, by word. Speaking of Lutheran's and other's replacement theology (Rev. 3:9, Jeremiah 31:35-37): um, no! What about replacement-theologist Mary-worshipers (Galatians 1:8, Col. 2:18-19)? "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it!"
    In short, Messianic Jews, most Pentecostals, and a few other denominations are of the church. All others are outside the church. [Yet you Catholics are enraged because I rightly/justly site Scripture that condemns Catholicism. You think of past relatives and how they CAN'T be in hell. I'm not personally condemning you or some friend/relative. "Let God judge those outside the church." See, you don't understand the Great One. Scripture declares blessings on those whom bless Jews (Gen. 12:3) and Christians (Gen. 12:3) and on those whom fear the Lord (Psalm 128:1, Psalm 115:13). (I site 12:3 for both Jew and Christian since true Christians are spiritual sons of Abraham.) Who am I OR YOU to declare when, how, why, or where the Lord keeps this promise. (Remember, even a simple gesture can be a blessing.) Know this example and know it well (to the Glory of God): the good thief on the cross at first insulted Christ, and then the Spirit of the Fear of the Lord came upon him; and you know the rest. As said, how, when, why, or where could you or I know when these promises occur? (As someone whose dad's side has been Catholic since family history goes back, knowing this is quite the comfort/inner peace.) Glory to God in the highest and peace to His people on earth!]

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  15. Michael,

    Respectfully, how do you know the Spirit is actually telling you that Perry's the man? Because you think or feel the Spirit doing so, or because he has claimed authority. By what authority does he have his authority?

    We also interpret the Bible, but we come to different conclusions. So you are only sure because the "Spirit" tells you so, but again, the Spirit tells me so on my end.

    It seems you're running into two problems with your approach:

    1) History. COG--Cleveland is just a splinter group of another splinter group. Whoever founded this group left a previous group and then said, "I've brought back the True Church." It should be pretty obvious that there was a point where COG--Cleveland simply didn't exist, until the founder said it had "always" existed. Sort of like how Lutherans are the "True Church" yet they didn't exist until, well, Luther.

    2) Tradition. I know you might not want to play this, but even you are following the tradition of Dake, through Perry. That's just how it works. You take his interpretations, so you follow his tradition. Now, for us, its different. Many of the Church Fathers, the earliest, sat at the feet of the Apostles. This is a literal fact, just like the Apostles sat at Our Lord's feet during the sermon of the mount.

    This is akin to someone being a student of Einstein. Einstein recorded e=mc[squared]. But let's say there was an equation he didn't write down, but one of his students remembered him saying. At first you'd be skeptical, until you did the math and realized it fit with all of Einstein's other formula, lock-and-key. It's the same with us and the Church Fathers.

    Thus, you can't claim your church is the Church because historically it just makes flat out zero sense, and traditionally because your teachings don't match the Church Fathers, which were those of the Apostles, which were those of Jesus.

    NB: Even at the end of the Gospel of John he says that not everything Christ did or said could be written down in the Bible, or there wouldn't be enough books in the world to fill them. Same with the Apostles. The solution? Tradition.

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  16. Michael,

    Let's try a different approach. It's pretty clear from your comment that you're a continuationist. Well, I've argued before that this naturally points to the Catholic Church.

    After all, if there was a Total Apostasy, then the gifts of the Holy Spirit would cease. Since you deny that this occurs, you can't really argue that there was a Total Apostasy. Instead, you'd have to say (and correct me if I'm wrong) that the Holy Spirit continued to work in the Church from the time of Christ to the present.

    If that's true, you need to stop running away from the Church Fathers and address them head-on. Are these the men the Holy Spirit was working through, or not? If not them, then who? The Pentecostal "churches" weren't even around until the twentieth century. And for most of history, Jews who accepted Christ as Messiah became (you guessed it) Catholics. So if the Church is just Messianic Jews and Pentecostals, where's "the Church" throughout the first 95% of Church history?

    I'll address Dake on the comments on the other post, just to keep it all together.

    I.X.,

    Joe

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  17. Michael,

    The most recent passage you cite is that the Antichrist will set himself up in "God's Temple" (2 Thessalonians 2:4). You claim that this must refer to a physical Temple. That'd be a lot more convincing if St. Paul hadn't elsewhere explicitly defined what he means by "God's Temple":

    “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: 'I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.'” (2 Cor. 6:16)

    “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.” (1 Cor. 3:16-17)

    “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.” (Eph. 2:19-21).

    “Although I hope to come to you soon, I am writing you these instructions so that, 15 if I am delayed, you will know how people ought to conduct themselves in God’s household, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth.” (1 Tim 3:14-15).

    So every single other time that St. Paul refers to God's Temple, or the Temple of God, or the Temple of the Holy Spirit, or God's Household, he's unambiguously referring to the Church and Her members. But you're claiming that in 2 Thessalonians he has to mean a physical Temple, and not what he meant every other time? Why? Why can this not mean that an enemy of the Church will seek to destroy Her from within?

    Finally, I note that you've ignored what I think is the most devastating blow to your theory, which is that Christ applied the Temple prophesies to His Body in John 7:37-38. How are you getting around this fact?

    I.X.,

    Joe

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  18. "... These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety..."

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  19. @Taylor: Due respect, if I follow man's tradition as you do, then I'd believe in segregation like Dake; and I don't. So the base of your argument is not in existence. In a different way, I already stated that Dake and Perry wowed my spirit so I truly looked into their denominations. It turns out that conditional election, Jew-loving, Charismatic-type believers are true to Scripture. (Oh, and I didn't say COG is THE church in an only-sense.)
    @Joe: a) Do I believe in a total apostacy? No, there's no reason to. Do I believe in a fallen away? How couldn't you? That said, I believe in a form of continuation; but until recently (Pentecostal/Charismatic revival) the lampstand had been out for a good amount of time; probably since the murderous iconoclast. (The Catholic reign wasn't the Dark Ages for nothing.) Were some saved while the lamp was out? For one, read my before comment about God's promise. It's just that when the lamp is off there's no growing in faith since blasphemers are teaching/murdering those that oppose; and this is severely dangerous for one capable of reason. b) Don't sugar coat the forced conversion of Jews. c) Of course Paul was speaking of a literal temple in 2Thes. He knew of the googleplex other passages (like Ezekiel) that talked, obviously, of such. (Joe, I know true Christians are Temples of the Holy Spirit. Have you not been talking of parallels lately in your blogs? How have I been ignoring citations of true believers being Temples?)

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  20. Michael,

    You can believe in some but not Tradition. Heck, we call Catholics like that "cafeteria Catholics".

    Or Protestants :P

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  21. Michael~ Maybe this question has been asked of you. Maybe it hasn't. I apologize if I'm being redundant.

    You quote scripture an awful lot, which is good. But again, I feel compelled to ask. How do you know that the scripture your quoting is correct? What I mean to say is, where does it come from? And who determined which passages/books compiled scripture?

    I ask because all historical evidence shows that Jesus, himself, did not write any of it. As for the books that compiled it, you can't say that this is all there is since there's a lot of other books such as the Gospel of Thomas or the Gospel of Mary as well as numerous fragments that one could say could be a part of the Bible since they too talk about Jesus. Why aren't they included?

    I only point this out because as others are asking about what tradition you follow, you explain that it's through the Holy Spirit and scripture that you remain in communion with the true Church (as you define it). By that logic one has to find the source of the Bible and how it was compiled. It's also important to know that the reason some books are excluded has to do with the tradition found in the writings of the early Church fathers.

    Therefore Protestants even Pentecostals base their Biblical texts (meaning what's included in the Bible) on tradition because that's how the Bible was handed down.

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  22. @Deltaflute: Your own Jerome (WHOM TRANSLATED THE LATIN BIBLE) states that the extras are read, but "not for the confirmation of revealed doctrine." (Cath. Encyc.) He obviously agreed with a widespread agreement on OT Scripture being Hebrew (also did Athanasius, following Origen and Alexandrian tradition). Also, there wasn't a big, widespread view on anything other than the NT that both 'Protestants' and Catholics recognize. (Although it's because of Catholics that blasphemous "Father, forgive them for they know not what they do" (which says you can be forgiven without repenting), and such, additions occurred.) Plus, you all didn't condemn anyone until Trent who thought otherwise. If you did, you wouldn't recognize the Trullo 'council' or the 'seventh council'. (I believe there were councils (Carthage) you don't recognize that use the actual canon. Not that I care what any 'father' or 'council' says.) [Look, all you need to know is that Jesus and the apostles didn't quote from the extras, and the NT wasn't truly contested. (Enough's enough; The 66 are what they are; history confirms this.)]

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  23. In my comment to Cary, I incorrectly cited Acts 16:11 instead of Acts 16:31. Oops!

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  24. @michael,

    1) You didn't address deltaflute's question. The question wasn't why dont you accept what Catholics accept. Rather, the question was why do you accept what you accept?

    2) On this same line, i've asked this before but might have just missed the answer so feel free to redirect me but do you accept and "follow" perry, dake, et al because they are right? or do you "follow" them because you think you are right and they agree with you?

    3) Regardless of 2, why should I (or anyone else) accept your interepretations of, definitions of, or reading of scripture? In other words, how do I know that you are right?

    4) Finally, where, in your opinion, is the doctrine of Sola Scriptura defined?

    In Christ,
    Cary

    PS. you misunderstand Jerome and mis quoted him by taking it completely out of context, see here, http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2010/06/st-jerome-on-deuterocanon.html

    most importantly, Jerome understood his role, and that even if he disagreed, that he was not an or the authority at all.

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  25. Michael~ I would also like to add a number 5 to Scredsoxfan2's list.

    5) You say "Look, all you need to know is that Jesus and the apostles didn't quote from the extras, and the NT wasn't truly contested. (Enough's enough; The 66 are what they are; history confirms this)"

    This begs another question, if you'll permit me. If there are only 66 books in the Bible (which you acknowledge is debated among Protestants and Catholics and I might add Orthodox), and you say Jesus doesn't quote anything from "the extras" what is John 10:22 addressing?

    It's my understanding that he's talking about the Jewish holiday of Chanukah which is only mentioned in Maccabees. Maccabees is not included in the Protestant canon only the Catholic or Orthodox Bibles. Therefore, Jesus does talk about canon that for Protestants doesn't exist as as inspired revelation.

    Joe's pointed this out several times. http://catholicdefense.blogspot.com/2011/11/why-celebrate-all-souls-day.html

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  26. @Cary:
    1-3) Did you NOT read my comment to you given at 12:59am 12-8-2011, among others?
    4) I'd say it was said, bluntly, when a woman giving credit to Mary when Christ was right there (something you people of the RCC do to a T), was told, "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it!"
    PS) How is it possible to take that quote out of context?
    @Deltaflute: All John 10:22 says is that the feast was being celebrated. So, that said, just because Maccabees mentions the Dedication, I'm suppose to believe it's inspired Scripture? I've accused you Catholics of grabbing doctrine out of thin air, but that takes the cake!

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  27. Michael,

    On your 4), you asked how it was possible to take Luke 8:19 out of context.

    I'd say that one way someone could take that passage out of context would be making it about Christ v. Mary, as you appear to have done here.  As Christ's response makes clear, this is about the primacy of faith over blood relation.  I've addressed that precise argument at length here, but the short answer is that any reading that makes it so Christ says Mary wasn't blessed is a reading contrary to Scripture (Luke 1:42, in which Elizabeth, inspired by the Holy Spirit, declares Mary and Jesus “Blessed”).

    Another way to take the passage out of context is to make the claim that it proves sola Scriptura.

    I'm on the way out the door now, but I'll try to respond to your points to me later.

    I.X.,

    Joe

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  28. Michael,
    I'm sorry. I must have confused you so I'll try and say it another way.

    You've said that there's nothing in the New Testament of the Protestant Bible that mentions things outside the entire Bible. Yet, here in John 10:22 there is a mentioning of Jesus taking part in a holy day not mentioned in the Protestant Canon.

    So am I confused about what you were saying about Jesus or the apostles not mentioning things that aren't inspired Scripture?

    I never said you had to believe that Maccabees is inspired scripture. I was only trying to clarify your statement in the context of how do you know what is inspired scripture and what isn't.

    Clearly the argument that Jesus or the apostles don't talk about (or rather there is no mention) things outside the inspired 66 books doesn't hold water if I can quote a portion of the New Testament from an apostle or disciple that mentions something from the 73 books of inspiration.

    So again, I'll ask the question that I asked before. How do you know what is inspired scripture and what isn't? Thank you.

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  29. @Joe:
    1) "On your 4),... declares Mary and Jesus "Blessed".)"
    You have made a mistake, because I used Luke 11:27-28, not Luke 8:19. Anyways, I didn't put Christ vs. Mary. Look, the woman could've said something like, "The Messiah is here! Blessed are you Lord! Hey, was your mother someone special to be able to be the one who carries the Savior of Israel?", and the Lord couldn't have stated it the way He did. Instead the woman praises His earthly mother when He is right there (as I've stated), as Mary-worshipers do. So the passage doesn't make it clear faith is over blood-relation as far as Christ; common sense does. That's why it had nothing to do with faith over blood-relation. And that said, I know the passage isn't contrary to blessed Mary's visitation to Elizabeth; reason says so. [On a side note: Luke 1:42 does say Jesus and Mary are blessed; but not in the way that Catholics think, though. "Blessed are you among women" does point to her being blessed because she was to give birth to our Lord. But "blessed is the fruit of your womb" has to do with the promised blessings through obedience in the Torah (Lev. 26:9) that Paul mentions, although a bit differently, in 1Tim. 2:15. See, Elizabeth thought she was under a curse (Luke 1:25), and she was rejoicing WITH Mary as far as womb-blessings are concerned. Otherwise wouldn't the Catholic view be like saying, "Blessed are you for being chosen to carry our Lord, and blessed are you for being chosen to carry our Lord"?]
    2) "Another way..."
    If you think Luke 11:28 doesn't apply to "Scripture alone", then wow!... No, WOW!
    @Deltaflute: All due respect, I'm sorry you are confused, because I've given all those answers.

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  30. Blessed are those who "hear the Word" sounds a lot like Tradition to me.

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  31. Michael~ Perhaps you can state it a way that's a bit clearer. Sometimes I have trouble understanding you. A lot of your typing is in phrases or run on sentences making it difficult for me to understand one idea from the next. (That and it's probably pregnancy brain on my part.)

    I'll ask the question again. How do you what is inspired scripture and what isn't? Please do not repeat the part about Jesus and apostles never quoting anything outside of the 66 books. I think I've already pointed out that that's not true.

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  32. The Tabernacle of David will be raised up by the Gentile nations. The Gentile nations are those Peter proclaimed:
    "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." I Peter 2:9-10

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  33. Concerning infant baptism, in my comment to Cary (December 8, 2011 12:59am) I incorrectly cited:
    1) Acts 16:11 instead of Acts 16:31
    2) Matthew 14:19 instead of Matthew 19:14
    Dumb mistake that I noticed (over a month later). My bad!

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  34. Michael,

    So taking the acts passage, need no one be baptized? How does this specifically apply to infant baptism?

    Ditto with matthew 19...

    More fundamentally how do you know that YOUR explanations are the right ones?

    I have appreciated your charity recently

    In Christ
    Cary

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  35. @Cary:
    1) Acts 16:31
    You have to believe to be saved. How can an infant believe when they don't know what believing is?
    2) Matthew 19:14
    The Kingdom belongs to children.
    3) In numerous previous comments I described my views which are not just mine (especially in my comment to you in this post 12/8/2011 12:59am). They're shared by those that believe in: conditional election, a love for the Jew, a belief in the gifts of the Spirit, a God that wouldn't even THINK of condemning one without reason to hell (children, mentally retarded), believer's baptism by only immersion, Lord's Supper with both body and blood.
    4) I have tried to be 'charitable', but blasphemy offends me.

    take it easy

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  36. @micheal,

    how do you judge what is blasphemy?

    2) at what point are people capable of "believing" as you require? How does that work with faith alone?

    3) Does an individual have to DO something (namely confess belief) to be saved if they are "capable" of believing?

    4) again, how do you know that you are right? upon what authority? as i see if you have two choices, 1) you don't know you are right you just think you are and readily admit that you could be wrong 2) all others are wrong and misled even by there honest attempts to understand, in this case for you to be right you must have some divine gift or revelation that allows you to see clearer than the rest of us. This also flows from a most recent comment when you claimed: "In short, it's the Spirit's showing us all truth" but we have different opinions so is the Spirit showing us different things intentionally? Conversely, are you receiving some special divine revelation yourself that allows you to know the 'right' answers?

    5) lastly, your comment on the other thread encompassing 'all Protestants' is properly incorrect, one because many 'protestants' dont know what the rosary is, and two because at the very least there are (that I know) many Anglicans and Lutherans who would or do pray the rosary. Also, you have asked Joe to refrain from such protestant generalizations before, but now you are using them yourself to defend your viewpoint, which is certainly not one that they "ALL" hold.

    In Christ
    Cary

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  37. @Cary:
    1) Anything contrary to the Word is blasphemy.
    2) It's not what I require. It's what our merciful God requires. Concerning faith without works: read my comment to Brent Stubbs on his article mocking the Sinner's Prayer. (Almost Not Catholic: "The Problem With 'Easy Believism'")
    3) Yes, but if you don't repent, you don't believe.
    4) I don't know how to answer that. You seem quite confused in your #4. But I will say: Trust in God, not man. God, and God alone, will show you all truth, convicting you of sin. Believe, Cary.
    5) Those non-Catholics and non-Orthodox that recite the rosary ARE Catholic or Orthodox. How could you view it any other way?

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  38. Michael,

    So you take the position that anyone who recites the Rosary is Catholic/Orthodox, and then argues that the Rosary is wrong because those who aren't Catholic/Orthodox don't believe in it.

    That argument sounds completely tautological. Am I missing something?

    I.X.,

    Joe

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  39. I'll skip everything else for now because I think number 4) is key. I believe and you believe. I believe God gave us a formal church and instituted the Eucharist which is really him, you believe otherwise. How do we resolve who is correct? Are you right just because you think yourself so?

    If you are right and we are both faithfully searching for truth then you must have some sort of divine gift that I don't. How else do explain two seekers of truth that arrive at different conclusions by reading the same text?

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  40. @Joe: I don't understand your confusion. Somebody who says the Rosary is Catholic/Orthodox, not Lutheran or whatever else they claim to be. It's rather quite simple.
    @Cary: Why do we come to two conclusions? The power of Satan's deceit is very strong. Sometimes, Cary, you got to look at the Word in the simplest of ways: Paul says that anyone who preaches a different gospel than what has been preached would be eternally condemned (Galatians 1:8). 'Preached' is past tense. Is there anything in the word prior to the penning of 'preached' that says to pray to anyone other than the Father in Jesus' name or to Jesus Himself? No. OK, we know Stephen was dead by the time Paul believed, right? Why didn't Peter, Paul, or anyone else say we should offer prayers to Stephen or even Isaiah, Ezekial, or some other godly patriarch that was no longer on earth? Because they knew it would be contacting the dead. They knew the only unseen we should contact is the only omnipresent and omnieverythingelse there is: God. Also, why isn't Peter, Paul, or anyone else recorded as saying, "I forgive you of your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit"? Because they knew only God can forgive sins. Also, why did they happen to leave out that you need a relationship with Mary to have one with the Trinity? Because they knew you didn't need to have a relationship with Mary. Cary, yet you say that we both seek the truth. Well, obviously you aren't seeking hard enough.

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  41. Michael: So someone who believes they are justified by faith alone (in opposition to Catholic dotrine or Orthodoxy), believes the Lord's supper is not transsubstantiation (again in opposition to the Catholic doctrine), rejects the Pope (obviously not Catholic), and subscribes to the 1580 Book of Concord (full of thigns in opposition to Catholic doctrine)...so, people in this category that pray the Rosary are...Catholic? No! Absurd! They are Lutherans.

    Stephen was a martyr at that time already; martyrs go directly to Heaven, and no Masses need to be said for them. Isaiah was taken into Heaven after Jesus broke open the limbo of the Fathers and took all the just, righteous people to Heaven.

    You don't see the words of absolution because these are epistles; you can't absolve people in epistles. Furthermore in Acts when they are converting, they are baptizing=no need for confession at the time.

    On the flip side, have your brethren every come to you and you absolved them? How come, it's in the Bible, isn't it?

    Jesus also simply states in the Bible that "this is My body." So why aren't you looking at the Word in the simplest way?

    And so on.

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  42. Michael,

    So you are content to basically say, well I'm just searching harder than you Cary, that is why I am right?

    If so I see no need to ever have another conversation with you, not only is that ignorant, it is the definition of prideful. As for looking at scripture in the simplest of ways...I'll just send home the most important difference I think we have, that Taylor pointed out. Christ said "This is my body.." if we take that simply we are Catholic, no doubt about it. But you deny that simplistic reading...why? what is the basis for some Scripture being so simple and others not so? are you the judge of what in Scripture is literal and non literal, basic and complicated, obvious and obfuscated?

    dont forget also that Luther was ready to throw out the books of James because it didn't suit his view and that Protestants have done just that with the deuterocanon. Ever read maccabees?

    Cary

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  43. @Cary:
    1) "Christ said 'This is my body...'"
    If I took that simply, I'd know it was to be a symbolic meal since He Himself was there when it was instituted. Since He was there, why didn't he rip off part of His bicep or something? See, how could He literally claim something as His body when His body was among themselves when the Lord's Supper was instituted? Also, He called Himself a vine and a door. With that reasoning, why don't you just have priests change vines and doors into Christ? Plus, His bones would be broken every time your teeth crush the host if it's His literal body even though "Not one of His bones shall be broken".
    2) "don't forget also that Luther..."
    Who cares about Luther. What does he have to do with me. He was an Anti-Semitic, replacement theologist even though it is written: "I will curse those who curse you". And again: "...those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars". (Read also: Jeremiah 31:35-37.) [How many times has the RCC fallen under condemnation for the before cited Scriptures: forced conversion of Jews to Catholicism, murder of Jews for no logical reason, Crusades, expulsions, Hitler using 'church father' writings as confirmation for his beliefs, and many others?]

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  44. You missed the point, why are you right?

    Right.about Luther, right about the Eucharist (ps you have some fundmental misunderstandings here), or right about vines...

    Cary

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  45. @Cary: All other posts included, that might be the millionth time you've asked why I'm right. No offense, but I'm sick of answering it. - You obviously haven't fully grasped what it is to be born anew, and what the Spirit does for you when you are born-again. - take care

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  46. Michael,

    That's because you haven't answered it except with some answer that you are searching harder and evidently better for the truth than the rest of us...may god have mercy on you because all your answer indicates is your overly prideful nature... I'll depend on the church he built you keep on depending on yourself

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  47. @Cary: Spoken like a true pre-VaticanII Catholic. (I say so because your 'may God have mercy on you' (I capitalized the G even though you didn't) was judgemental on my salvation.) Look, in my 12/8/2011 12:59am statement to you I explained; and then I had to keep on explaining in numerous later statements to you; and not just in this post; it is quite annoying.

    [Lord Yeshua, as you stated: "Whose sins you remit, they are remitted unto them". As Stephen did in Acts 7, do also unto Cary, remembering not his statement to me at 5:48pm on 1/21/2012 and all his other statements calling me prideful. Ditto for any other Catholic whose called me prideful or condemned me in any way. - Glory to you Lord! And glory to your God and my God; to your God and all believer's God!]

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  48. LOVE this - thank you so much! This was extremely helpful to me. :)

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