So, before you attack me for the headline, allow me to give you the general rundown of why I feel the way I do. In this piece, I will cover: History and Tyranny The Pope and the hierarchy of the church Confession Compulsory Baptism Praying to and worshiping Mary and Saints
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Again, please read this with an open heart and mind.
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History And Tyranny
As a Christian, as well as a
For the purpose of the analogy, (and to save some time) I am going to give you the Tabernacle rules with the hierarchy with the Catholic hierarchy in parentheses.
Only the priests (Cardinals) were allowed to come near the Tent of Meeting and only the High Priest (Pope) could enter the Holy of Holies, the inner sanctum of the Tent of Meeting.
You might be wondering why I am even talking about this. “So what if there’s a hierarchy?” Well, when Jesus died, something impossible happened which we will talk about shortly.
As you can see from the first graphic there of the Tabernacle, the Holy of Holies is separated with a veil. In fact, there were three veils in the tabernacle.
Wybren H. Oord describes the veils better than I could in his piece The Veil Of The Tabernacle:
The first one was at the gate of the entrance into the tabernacle just before the bronze altar; the second was at the door through which one would gain entrance into the Holy Place; and the third was before the Ark of the Covenant in the Holy of Holies.
The word “veil” in the Hebrew means “to separate.” That is what the three veils did. They acted as a barrier between God and man, shutting the man out and shutting God in.
The first curtain was at the gate of the outer court. It was over seven feet high, thirty feet wide and was supported by four pillars set in bronze sockets. This curtain separated the people from the outer court of the tabernacle. They could only enter when they brought their sacrifice to the gate as an offering for God upon the bronze altar.
The second curtain guarded the door to the Holy Place. This veil separated the people in outer court of the tabernacle from the Holy Place. Only priests were permitted to enter into the Holy Place after they had made the proper sacrifice at the altar and washing at the bronze laver.
The third curtain divided the inside of the tabernacle into two rooms: the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies. This veil separated the priests who were permitted to come into the Holy Place from the Holy of Holies in which was the very presence of God. Only the high priest could enter into the Holy of Holies — and he only once a year on the great Day of Atonement.
He could only enter if he carried with him blood from the bronze altar to present as an offering to God. That blood was to place on the mercy seat as a substitutionary atonement for his sins and the sins of the people.
Woven into this veil, guarding the entrance to the Holy of Holies, were three huge figures of cherubim. Cherubim were the symbolic defenders of God’s power and God’s holiness. Like the cherubim who guarded the entryway into the Garden of Eden, these cherubim stood guard over the entrance of the Holy of Holies as if to say: “Thus far and no further!”
These weren’t just like your curtains at home either. According to the Talmud, the veils were sixty feet long, thirty feet tall and four inches thick. Jewish tradition claims that the veils were so heavy it took three hundred priests to hang them.
Again, you’re probably wondering why I’m taking the time to describe all this. Well, here’s the miracle and why the hierarchy of the Catholic Church, and really any other sect out there like the Mormons for instance, is heresy:
Matthew 27:51 “Behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent.”
The day Jesus died, this four inch thick tapestry, tore in two. This signified something very important. You, me, anyone could now talk to God!
You don’t have to go to a priest, who then goes to a bishop, who then goes to a cardinal, etc etc anymore!
Before Christ, that outer veil was as close as anyone who wasn’t a holy man could get to God! That all changed when he gave his life for us. Yet, for some reason, the Catholic Church sees it otherwise.
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Speaking of going to a priest, let’s take a moment to talk about confession shall we?
Catholics believe that you should go to a priest to confess your sins. A man. Why? The Bible makes it very clear that is not the way.
James 5:14-16 “Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”
It says to pray to the Lord and your sins may be forgiven and to confess your faults to one another. Not to a priest or a pastor.
To hammer the point home even more:
1 Timothy 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”
Ephesians 2:18 “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”
As I said about the veil, anyone can speak directly to God now thanks to the sacrifice of Jesus. The final nail however would be this:
1 John 1:8-10 “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he(God) is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.”
Moving right along!
I’m sure many of you non catholic people have seen many a movie or tv show where you see the good Catholic parents take their infant into the church for their baptism.
This is a real thing! They call it “infant baptism” and is essentially an initiation ritual to be considered a “member” of the Catholic Church.
According to the Archdiocese of St Paul Minnesota:
By Baptism all sins are forgiven, Original Sin and all personal sins, and temporal punishment due to sin is removed. After one has been reborn in Christ, there is nothing to prevent one’s entry into God’s Kingdom.
Baptism seals the Christian with the indelible spiritual mark (character) of his belonging to Christ. No sin can erase this mark, even if sin prevents Baptism from bearing the fruits of salvation. Given once for all Baptism cannot be repeated” (CCC, no. 1272).
This is pure heresy. The Bible is very clear about what Baptism is and what it signifies.
They use John 3:5 as the basis of this belief which says:
“Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit.”
What they fail to understand is that once Jesus died and rose again, things changed.
Acts 1:5 For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.
As I was saying:
Romans 6:3-4 “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”
Baptism is supposed to be a display of the choice you made to accept the gift of Salvation. Some say it signifies the sins being washed away from you as the dirt would, and others say it signifies Jesus being buried (going underwater) and the resurrection(raising out of the water).
Jesus makes it very clear how to be saved.
Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”
Verse 9 is one of my favorites because it also puts a damper on the idea that “works” has anything to do with your salvation. It does a good job shooting holes in Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witness, Catholicism, and more.
But to put the icing in the cake on salvation:
John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
Of course we can’t forget the most memorized verse known to man:
John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him, shall be saved.”
Baptism is a great thing to do! Don’t get me wrong! I’ll never forget the day I was baptized. In the weeks leading up to it, my dad would ask me repeatedly “do you know why you are doing this?” And if I didn’t answer him with full understanding, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.
Baptism isn’t a “get out of hell free” card. It’s a symbol of your faith and devotion that should be done with full understanding.
The Worship Of Mary
Catholics (and others) believe that Jesus is God and God is Jesus – They are the same person. I however, do not. I believe they are 2 completely different entities and that the Holy Spirit is exactly as it is called: The Spirit Of God. (We will get into this in the next section.)
The idea that Jesus IS God is how they justify their worship of Mary. They believe that Mary legitimately gave birth, to God! Well, if that was the case, I could almost understand it EXCEPT for the fact that the Bible is pretty clear about who you should pray to.
You pray to God: (From the mouth of Jesus himself!)
Matthew 6:9-10 This, then, is how you should pray: ‘‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”
1 Timothy 2:5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and humanity, the man Christ Jesus.
With help from the Holy Spirit
Romans 8:26-27 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.
Paul even makes the specific distinction here:
Ephesians 1:17 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.
The Bible is also clear that you’re not supposed to pray to ANYONE besides God!
Revelation 19:10 Then I bowed down at the angel’s feet to worship him, but he said to me, “Do not worship me! I am a servant like youand your brothers and sisters who have the message of Jesus. Worship God, because the message about Jesus is the spirit that gives all prophecy.
Prayer is worship people! Praying to dead saints, to Mary, to anyone else besides God is pure heresy. God will not share his Glory with anyone.
Isaiah 42:8 I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.
Praying to anyone else besides God is tantamount to praying to the golden calf. But for some reason the Catholics disagree?
“(Hail Holy Queen, Mother of Mercy, our life our sweetness and our hope). To thee do we cry, poor banished children of Eve; To thee do we send up our sighs, mourning and weeping in this valley of tears. Turn then, most gracious advocate, thine eyes of mercy toward us and after this our exile show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus. O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!”
Of course we can’t forget:
Hail Mary, Full of Grace, The Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of death. Glory Be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.
Catholics kneel before statues of her, bow to her, and pray to her. How is this any different than a false idol?
Don’t get me wrong! Mary is special! She was the virgin that gave birth to the Son of God! But she’s NOT God. There’s only ONE God.
As for prayer beads? Prayer is supposed to be a relationship with God. How superficial can a person be if their prayer is ritualistic?
The Bible quite literally tells you what to do when you pray! This is one of the main reasons I stopped going to church actually.
Matthew 6:1-8 “And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites, for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by others.
Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you pray, go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father, who is unseen.
Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.
Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.”
As I said in the last section, I believe that Jesus is the SON of God and that the Holy Spirit is Gods Spirit. Let me tell you why.
Ahhh yes… one of my favorite conversations…
Jesus himself makes the distinction very clear multiple times, but no time more evident than when God turned his back when Jesus died.
Matthew 27:45-46 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).
Scripture displays a distinction quite often.
Luke 2:52 And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.
Hebrews 5: 8-9 Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him
Mark 13:32 But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
Mark 1: 9-11 At that time Jesus came from Nazareth in Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. As Jesus was coming up out of the water, he saw heaven being torn open and the Spirit descending on him like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
Catholics will also quote Jesus when he said “Before Abraham was, I am.” They use this quote as proof that Jesus was God. However, context matters! Even in that scripture, he makes a clear distinction:
John 8:54-58 Jesus replied, “If I glorify myself, my glory means nothing. My Father, whom you claim as your God, is the one who glorifies me. Though you do not know him, I know him. If I said I did not, I would be a liar like you, but I do know him and obey his word. Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad.” “You are not yet fifty years old,” they said to him, “and you have seen Abraham!” “Very truly I tell you,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!”
The idea that Jesus did not exist, prior to his birth in the flesh is an interesting notion. That would be like saying that the angels didn’t exist either when we know otherwise.
Especially since scripture says otherwise…
John 17:5 “And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began”
Romans 8:3 For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.
Galatians 4:4 But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,
And one of my favorites:
John 6:38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
Why would Jesus continuously say they were different… If they were the same?
As you’ve seen, I’ve put more information on certain things than I have others. I do believe that for someone to fully understand the importance of specific occurrences, more information is needed. On the flip side of course is that some things are just a lot more cut and dry.
I did not put this together to bash on my fellow Christians.
I put this together because I believe that God spoke to me and told me “Rob, you’ve had this discussion thousands of times, maybe it’s time to put it on paper because you’re so forgetful.”
As I said in the opener, I will probably add to this as time goes on due to things coming to me or through further discussions.
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