Who Are The Elect?

The following was written by Phillip Stratton, a friend of Soteriology 101, and posted with full permission. Thank you, Phillip!

To both Calvinists and Arminians, the identity of “the elect” is widely accepted as “the saved ones”. Even if the sides disagree how one becomes saved the usual consensus is that new covenant believers are “the elect”. To see if that definition fits, let’s take a look at one passage in the New Testament where the term “the elect” is used as well as the term’s Old Testament roots .

2 Timothy 2:10 (NKJV), “Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

Who were/are “the elect” for whom Paul was willing to suffer with much hardship?

The two most widely accepted interpretations are the unconditional elect and/or the conditional elect.  According to Calvinism, the former, the elect are those predestined and predetermined by God for salvation from eternity past.  This group is certain and locked in.  The elect will be saved and the non-elect will be lost.  Period.  According to Arminianism the elect are those foreseen by God who will accept Jesus Christ as their personal Savior by their own free will; ie. conditional elect.  Those who are “in Christ” are the elect of God.  In short, one becomes elect when he or she elects to believe.  However, neither of these widely accepted interpretations fit the content and grammar of the text.  

Who Are the “They Also”?

Look, again, at the text….

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

John Calvin writes… “When Paul says that he endures everything for the sake of the elect, he reveals how much more important the edification of the church is for him than his own safety. For Paul is not only prepared to die but even to be known as a criminal in order to promote the welfare of the church.” (1 & 2 Timothy & Titus: Calvin, The Crossway Classic Commentaries, pp.134-135)

If the elect, and the elect alone, are guaranteed salvation, why the “they also”?  For Calvinism to be correct the word “also”, or “too” would have to be omitted.  John Piper does as much when he preaches on this verse (please see video link provided).

Three times Piper quotes this verse and all three times he omits the word “also”.  Once might be a mistake.  But three times?  Then what about the elect “may” obtain salvation?  In Calvinism, the elect are guaranteed salvation.  There is zero chance that one of God’s elect will be lost.  So why would Paul say “may” obtain, clearly suggesting that they “may not”?  If Paul was preaching Calvinism, the verse would have to read….

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they (alone) will (not “may”) obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

The Arminian definition of the elect also suffers problems with this verse.  Again, according to Arminianism, the elect are those “in Christ”.  Here’s how Brian Abasciano defines the Arminian view of election….  

“By way of summary, there are two different views of election conditioned on faith. First, individual election is the classic view, in which God individually chose each believer based upon his foreknowledge of each one’s faith and so predestined each to eternal life. Second, corporate election is the main alternative view, holding that election to salvation is primarily of the Church as a people and embraces individuals only in faith-union with Christ the Chosen One and as members of his people.”

He clarifies this statement with the following….

“In the New Testament, only believers are identified as elect.”

http://evangelicalarminians.org/the-facts-of-salvationc-conditional-election/

Is that true?  The book of Timothy is found in the New Testament.  Let’s see….

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of those in Christ Jesus (or believers), that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

But haven’t those in Christ already obtained salvation?  Can someone be “in Christ” and still be lost?  Doesn’t make sense.  And we still have the problem of the “they also”.  Since the “also” or “too” introduces another category of people, in this instance, the other category would have to be those not “in Christ” or the Lost (unbelievers).  Inserting “believers” in place of “the elect” suggests that non-believers can and, indeed, have obtained salvation as well.  It just doesn’t work.  A non-believer can obtain salvation, but only by becoming a believer.  Thus a non-believer will not obtain salvation. 

Whoever the elect are, Paul definitely considers them to be lost.  And the “they also” inserts the notion that someone other than the elect can obtain salvation as well.  If “they” refers back to “the elect”, then the “also” means someone other than the elect can obtain salvation as well.  That “other category”, in context, would have to be the non-elect. That makes hash of Paul’s purpose and theology. There is a much easier explanation.

If “The Elect” are not the “Saved Ones”…?

So who are the elect?  What do the scriptures say?

For Jacob My servant’s sake, And Israel My elect, I have even called you by your name; I have named you, though you have not known Me.

Isaiah 45:4 (NKJV)

O seed of Abraham His servant, You children of Jacob, His chosen ones!

Psalm 105:6 (NKJV)

Nowhere in God’s word is there a more clear and concise rendering of who the elect are.  It is Israel.  And its not limited to the Old Testament.  We find the word “elect” 4 times in the gospels and each time Jesus is referring to the Jews (Matthew 24:22, Matthew 24:24, Matthew 24:31, Luke 18:7).  But does it work within the scope of 2 Timothy 2:10?  Let’s see….

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of Israel, that they too may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

That interpretation seems to work perfectly within the text.  Paul is saying he is enduring hardship for his fellow Israelites so that they also, along with the Gentiles to whom he was an apostle, may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.  But does Israel fit the immediate context?  Let’s look at the previous verses….

Remember that Jesus Christ, of the seed of David (a Jew from the tribe of Judah; one of the 12 sons of Jacob/Israel), was raised from the dead according to my gospel, for which I suffer trouble (at the hand of the Jews) as an evildoer, even to the point of chains; but the word of God is not chained. Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.

2 Timothy 2:8-10 (NKJV)

Yes.  Israel, or the Jews, fits the immediate context.  How many times do you hear Calvinists screaming “Context, context, context!”  Well, we have context.  Do we have any other scriptural support that suggests Israel being Paul’s focus here?  Yes.

For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, who are Israelites

Romans 9:3-4a (NKJV)

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.

Romans 10:1 (NKJV)

For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.

Romans 11:13-134 (NKJV)

For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.”

Acts 28:20 (NKJV)

Was Paul willing to be eternally cut off from Christ for the Gentiles?  Nope.  Was it for the hope of the Church that Paul was bound with chains?  Nope.  Paul’s heart, focus and goal was always for the salvation of his fellow Jews because the Gentiles were accepting the Gospel while his countrymen spurned it.  The very ones who hunted him down, stoned him, and left him for dead (Acts 14:19), and even had him imprisoned.  Paul could just as easily have said….

“I endure all things for the sake of the circumcision, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

Grammatical Analysis

“2Tim 2:10 – διὰ τοῦτο πάντα ὑπομένω διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτούς ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ σωτηρίας τύχωσιν τῆς ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ μετὰ δόξης αἰωνίου

My literal translation – ‘on account of this, these [things] I am enduring on account of the elect [ones] in order that even to/for/with/by them salvation/deliverance they should obtain/experience, the [kind that is] in Jesus, with everlasting glory.’

The και – meaning ‘even’, has to do with Paul’s introducing another category of people, besides the Gentiles to whom he is an apostle, and whom he is wanting to see saved. This other category he also wants to see saved and is willing to keep enduring all things so that might happen.

That other category is ‘elect ones’, and so Phillip has context and other passages on his side pointing to ‘elect ones’ here meaning Jews who are not yet saved, but on account of whom (their forcing Paul’s arrest and trial by Rome) he is enduring his current imprisonment.”

“The context leans towards identifying the ‘elect’ as the same ones ‘on account of which’ he is willing to endure suffering, that they also (the ones causing the suffering) ‘may obtain’ salvation… but not certain they will.”

From longtime friend of the Soteriology 101 blog, Brian Wagner

Brother Brian’s analysis and rendering is spot on.  What can we take from these observations?

1. “The elect” are the elect if they obtain salvation or not
2. There is a high probability the “the elect” will not obtain salvation
3. The elect are the ones who have imprisoned him and want him dead

What has been provided is sound exegesis.  We have context, grammar, and other scriptural support.  Both the Calvinist and Arminian interpretations have nothing.

A Category Error

So when Calvinists or Arminians alike assume “the elect” are the new covenant believers, they are not speaking in the same categories as the biblical authors do. The OT is abundantly clear that Israel is the elect of God.  Nothing in scripture says He ever abandoned Israel.  Jesus confirms their election during His earthly ministry when speaking of His second coming in the last days.  The apostle Paul states that Israel never lost their election (Romans 9:4-5, Romans 11:2, Romans 11:28, 2 Timothy 2:10).  Saved or lost, they are still His chosen people.  God swore He would never forsake His chosen people (1 Samuel 12:22).

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of Israel, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the Jews, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

“Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the circumcision, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.”

Each works perfectly within the context and grammar without doing damage to the word of God.  Even though Paul was called by God to be an apostle to the Gentiles, his heart was always for his fellow Israelites and their salvation. Calvinists will tell you that we preach the gospel indiscriminately to everyone because we don’t know who “the elect” are.  Well, Paul knew precisely who the elect are and, apparently, so did Timothy.  Of course the apostle should have known who the elect were.  The OT scriptures told him plainly.

870 thoughts on “Who Are The Elect?

  1. Richard, there are a few things I agree with you on, and there are also a few things I disagree with you on, in your last post.

    I agree:
    1) That Paul was primarily addressing the Jews in Rom. 9-11 (but sometimes the Gentiles).
    2) I agree with the connection you made to Mth 7:21: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven — is the truly of Israel.
    3) That Jesus said I WILL (Future) build my church, Mat 16:18, which began in Acts 2. I agree that that’s when the church of Jesus Christ began. But the efficacy of His death also went back in time to the faithful who lived and died long before the cross.
    4) You asked: What advantage then hath the Jew? I agree, “Much in every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.” But Paul was primarily speaking of the OT here! But note v.3, some were without faith (the Jews who rejected the promised Messiah) and their advantage comes to nothing.

    The real Jew, (Romans 2:25-29):
    The profit of circumcision (vv. 25-27). Circumcision was the token of the covenant relationship of Israel with God (Gen. 17: 10-14). The advantage of it was in being among the people who had the law. But if one did not keep the law, that advantage was nullified and circumcision became a sign of nothing, a senseless mutilation of the body (cf. Phil. 3:2). The important thing was not circumcision as a mere sign, but the keeping of the law. And if the uncircumcised man kept the law,
    a. God would not hold his uncircumcision against him, and
    b. He would judge (condemn) the Jew who had all the advantages but did not keep the law.

    The true Jew (Romans 2:28-29).
    Being a Jew involves more than an accident of birth, or the removal of a bit of flesh from the body. The real descendant of Abraham is the one who has Abraham’s faith, and does his works (cf. Rom. 9:6-8; Gal. 3:6-9; 5:6; 6:15-16; John 8:39-40). The real contrast is between one to whom the law is nothing more than an external document, and one who has the law written on his heart.

    1. Galatians teaches the OT ekklesia was a child under a custodian ( the old Law) and the new testament church is a mature Son. So once again continuity. It is the NT teaching.

      1. Do you believe gentile converts to Judaism whobredeive circumcision who converted to Judaism after the Christian era are deemed children of Abraham?

  2. DN John said:

    Do you believe gentile converts to Judaism whobredeive circumcision who converted to Judaism after the Christian era are deemed children of Abraham?

    If they converted to Rabbinic Judaism, no. If they converted to Messianic Judaism, then yes because Jesus would be their Savior.
    But “converting” to Judaism isn’t the issue. Judaism is a religion, where in contrast, Jew is an ethnic heritage. There’s no way to convert to that, you have to be born into that genetic line. And Jesus made it clear, being born into that lineage will not save you, you must believe in Him. It is there, that Jew and Gentile share in the favor of the Messiah, Rom 15:27, seed of Abraham spiritually.

  3. Richard wrote:
    “Jew is an ethnic heritage…Jesus made it clear, being born into that lineage will not save you, you must believe in Him.”

    My Response:
    Now you’ve finally got the gist of Romans 9-11.😉

    1. However, the belief is among Zionists, that the Land Promise to Abraham and his seed…means that Jews are unconditionally given the Land of Israel by virtue of their ethnicity without stipulations and Gentiles regardless of their incorporation into Christ are excluded from that promise. Perhaps I am misunderstsnding….if so, please tell me, Richard. Other non Zionist interpreters say that although the stipulations are not recorded in every passage, there are conditions to this promise in other scriptures, which the ethnic jews have never fulfilled up to this time.

      Paul argues differently than Zionism in Galatians. He argues, that Christ is the promised Seed of Abraham, the singular seed and those in Him by faith are sons of Abraham and heirs according to promise, even if by physical ethnicity they are gentiles. This division of Jew and Gentile being done away by the cross. This can only be a new heavens , new earth fulfillment. In this way Abraham gets the whole earth with his seed.

      This Israel of the one people of God is the true Israel. The faithful remnant has always been the true Israel, the unfaithful ones just benefited by association until God brought his chastisement to them to call them back to repentance and faithfulness. Now in our time this means obedience unto Christ, the Prophet like unto Moses…who is the Divine Word of God incarnate.Those who refuse that Prophet are cut off from the people…but the People as a whole is not cut off as God keeps the remnant unto himself. He has added to this remnant through incorporating the Nations into the olive tree of Israel when they are in Christ, born anew in Water and the Spirit so as to enter the Kingdom of God.

      1. DNJohn, it seems to me that one of the major mistakes dispensationalists make, is the idea that all (physical) Israel will finally be saved. But that’s not the meaning of Romans 11:26– “And so all Israel will be saved.”
        The term “And so” in v.26 means (in this manner), look it up in the greek. It means “in this manner,” which is defined by v.25 to mean ‘under these circumstances’– i.e., with “a hardening in part” persisting in Israel all through the ages until the end of time when the last Gentile has been converted. It is under these conditions that all the real Israel (9:6); that is, those who believe will be saved. “And so” is not “and then” as many have assumed. Paul is not referring to a salvation of all National Israel at the end of time, but rather, TO A PROCESS that was going on even in his day and which proceeds all through the age.

        Compare vv. 30-32 with vv. 11-14 and the “condition” in v.23: Paul did not expect a turning to God on the part of all (physical) Israel. And even though God wants ALL to avail of His mercy, not all Gentiles will avail of His mercy, and not all Jews will avail of His mercy!

        Romans 11:30-32 NKJV
        “For as you were once disobedient to God, yet have now obtained mercy through their disobedience, even so these also have now been disobedient, that through the mercy shown you they also may obtain mercy. For God has committed them all to disobedience, that He MIGHT have mercy on all.”

        Romans 11:11-14 NKJV
        “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!

        For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh AND SAVE SOME OF THEM.”

        Romans 11:23 NKJV
        “And they also, IF they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.

        Unfortunately, it seems like the majority of them will continue in obstinate unbelief until the end of time!

      2. Many are hopeful that a large number of Jewish people will come into the Church before the Last day. Paul seems to see three phases…remnant….nations added…jews added back in. Not all of Jews or all of Gentiles but many jews before the end. Many see it that way who are Amillenialists. Maybe the faithful witness of Christians in the face of Antichrist will inspire people of Jewish heritage to come to the Lord? This is speculative but it definitely would be awesome to see.

      3. It would be nice to see many come to the Lord from both sides, Jew and Gentile; but narrow is the way that leads to life, and only a few will find it. God shows no partiality, whether Jew or Gentile, they will be saved in the same way equally through the gospel. If the Jews won’t be saved when Christ came, I don’t have much hope for them if an anti-christ comes.

      4. I am not sure if Paul meant the fullness of the Gentiles as in all individual gentile persons converted or if he meant it in terms of whole nations, when all the nations get the gospel message, as in all nations have been evangelized with the true gospel of Christ. It is the same Greek word. I think the latter may be correct??

      5. Perhaps both are true together! Either way, the fullness of the Gentiles refers to that which will finally come in at the end of time. And if what Paul is saying is true, the hardening in part will continue until that day!

  4. Dn John said:

    “Many are hopeful that a large number of Jewish people will come into the Church before the Last day.”

    Response:
    You have it backwards, Gentiles join the Jews. The first church was Jewish; the twelve Apostles were Jews.
    Joh 4:22….salvation is from the Jews. Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
    Rom 11:24  For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature(Gentiles), and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree(the Jews): how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree?
    Even if your church is 100% Gentile, you’re believing in the Jewish Messiah, Mat 1:1, Rev 5:5 

    1. Thank God for the Holy Jewish forefathers. I named my son after one of them, Josiah. I know that Jesus had a Jewish lineage and therefore Salvation is of the Jews.
      I also have a great appreciation for the Jewish style of worship. Eastern Orthodox Christian worship is patterned after ancient synagogue and temple liturgy. It is like glimpses of heavenly worship from the book of Revelation. Reminds me of: Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” Much use of the Psalms too. So very thankful for that sacred tradition that came from the Jews. Nothing I said indicated that I thought Gentiles founded the Church or that the Church is a Gentile Church. I have read dispensationalists who write that Jesus’ Church is the Gentile Church, which is contrary to NT Doctrine to say such a thing. Much honor and veneration to the Jewish forefathers. See Sirach chapters 44- 51. I am indebted to them.

    2. Another demonstration from Holy Scripture showing Israel is the Church and the Church is Israel. There are two approaches one may find among those who hold to an Amillenial view . One is that the Church is a replacement of Israel, a kind of ” new israel” instead of “renewed” Israel. The nuance is important. Those who hold to so called , “New Testament Theology” espouse the Church as the new Israel. I think that view is wrong and it is not the ancient view of the Church.
      The other view is that the Church is Israel and there is continuity from the OT to the NT…same people of God through the faithful remnant. The sheep given by the Father to Jesus to be the basis upon which Jesus grows his Church.. This is often called Covenant Theology. My view is close to covenant theology except I disagree with reformed folks about the Mosaic Law being divided into three parts moral, ceremonial, and civil, with the moral part remaining for Christians. The mosaic law is an indivisible unit and we live within the Law of Christ instead of the Law of Moses,, which certainly has the eternal moral aspects but it is from Christ, not Moses. Christ is superior to Moses.

      1 Corinthians 9 ( DRB)

      19For whereas I was free as to all, I made myself the servant of all, that I might gain the more. 20And I became to the Jews, a Jew, that I might gain the Jews: 21To them that are under the law, as if I were under the law, (whereas myself was not under the law,) that I might gain them that were under the law. To them that were without the law, as if I were without the law, (whereas I was not without the law of God, but was in the law of Christ,) that I might gain them that were without the law. 22To the weak I became weak, that I might gain the weak. I became all things to all men, that I might save all. 23And I do all things for the gospel’s sake: that I may be made partaker thereof.

  5. Richard, yes the Messiah was Jewish, but it is evident that His Church and Kingdom is not Jewish but universal! In Daniel 7 we get a vivid picture of what happened after Jesus rose from the dead and ascended back into heaven. He ascends with the clouds of heaven to the Ancient of Days and is given a kingdom in which all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. That kingdom is the church!

    Daniel 7:13-14 NKJV
    “I was watching in the night visions,
    And behold, One like the Son of Man,
    Coming with the clouds of heaven!
    He came to the Ancient of Days,
    And they brought Him near before Him.

    Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom,
    That all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him.
    His dominion is an everlasting dominion,
    Which shall not pass away,
    And His kingdom the one
    Which shall not be destroyed.”

  6. Aidan said:
    “Richard, yes the Messiah was Jewish, but it is evident that His Church and Kingdom is not Jewish but universal!”

    Response: Firstly, the Messiah still is Jewish, Rev 5:5, and secondly, you’re going to have to make up your mind.
    You said the church is Israel, now you’re saying it isn’t, well which is it?
    The New Jerusalem will have the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on the gates, and the names of the twelve Apostles, all Jews written on the twelve foundations. Not a Southern Baptist, Pope, Anglican, Catholic, Orthodox name to be found anywhere.
    Salvation is universal, but God has his order of operating his Kingdom.

    1. Richard wrote:
      “Firstly, the Messiah still is Jewish, Rev 5:5, and secondly, you’re going to have to make up your mind.
      You said the church is Israel, now you’re saying it isn’t, well which is it?”

      My Response:
      I think you may be mixing me up with DNJohn in regards to telling you that the church is Israel. In speaking of Romans 9-11, I said the context revealed that Paul was referring to who the “real Israel” was, from among (physical) Israel (9:6) – not the church! And besides, it is erroneous to connect my statement that “His Church and Kingdom is not Jewish but universal” with the statement “the church is Israel.” The statement that “the church is Israel” is symbolic, and has nothing to do with the church being Jewish, or of ethnicity. And I would be careful how I approached Rev. 21:9-21.

      No one is trying to undermine the role that Israel played in God’s scheme of redemption. But let’s not make so much out of ethnicity in the church! We need to be careful about causing division and showing partiality! Has Christ not brought peace, who has broken down the middle wall of separation, and reconciled them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity (Eph. 2:11-18)? We don’t need to be building walls of separation again between Jews and Gentiles; certainly not after all that Jesus did to bring reconciliation and peace!

      You said the Messiah is Jewish! Yes, but more importantly, He is the Son of Man–which makes Him Universal. It was Jesus “the Son of Man” who received dominion, glory, and a Kingdom that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him (Dan. 7:13-14)! This is the greater point; that He is the Son of Man which identifies Him with all men making Him a universal Messiah for all, not His ethnicity, and not the ethnicity of the church.

      1. I am reminded of the passage about the Kingdom where Jesus says this:

        Matthew 13:52 NASB1977

        And He said to them, “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings forth out of his treasure things new and old.”

        There is both continuity and newness in the Kingdom.

  7. Richard wrote, the Messiah still is Jewish. But Paul wrote “Therefore, from now on, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we have known Christ according to the flesh, yet now we know Him thus no longer” (2 Cor. 5:16).

    1. Hi Aidan and Richard, I have also been thinking of the future tense of Jesus’ words: “upon this rock, I will build my Church….” I wanted to share some thoughts about that..

      The Church in the wilderness had been delivered from Egypt. But they were still in bondage in spiritual Eqypt, in bondage to death and the devil. They needed a new Pascha ( passover) to bring them out of bondage in the world of the dead i.e sheol/hades. Christ is our Passover! ( 1 Corinthians 5;7) [That is why the Orthodox church calls the the celebration of Christ’s ressurrection: PASCHA. In fact in most languages it is called that or a derivative of it.] The old testament faithful who had died were held in Sheol, the world of the dead, waiting for the promised deliverance. They were in bondage, like ” spirits in prison” and Jesus won them for himself and delivered them when he died and went to them to proclaim their freedom. Jesus had given his life and shed his blood as a ransom to death to deliver them from death. Jesus won the victory and trampled on death by death. He “abolished death” ( 2 Tim 1:10) , “led captivity captive” and won a people for himself.( Ephesians 4:8)The Church in the wilderness, became in that deliverance, the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. In this way he purchased the Church with his own blood. We too are loosed from our sins in his blood [ Rev. 1:5,6]. Jesus in his ressurrection became Lord of the dead and the living ( ROMANS 14:9).

      These became members in the same fold of Christ with the faithful remnant, i.e true Israel and the other sheep brought into it. This is how the Church became the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was the transition from the typological church under the old Law to the fulfilled people of God under the new Law. This is the continuity of the Israel of God.

      Jesus wanted to make his own and a continuation of his incarnation on this earth. Jeus make the church into something more …into his own mystical body in union with Him and Into the living temple of God. This church was not this before but Jesus was planning to build it on the Rock of right confessing apostles and prophets with himself as the cornerstone, the solid Foundation, and build it up with Living Stones.

      In order to be the true temple of God it must be a permanent dwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is what happened at Pentecost and continues to happen as new members are Baptized and anointed for the seal of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

      Jesus did begin building his Church on Pentecost but it is in the context of the existing Church which he had redeemed from death and won unto himself, purchasing it with his own blood. We are brought into that very same church of all the Old testament saints that Jesus saved at his death and the living Jews who believed at that time and the gentiles grafted into this one ransomed people of God and then all becoming the living temple of God at Pentecost.

      At this time Jesus begins building his church as new living stones are added. Jesus was looking forward to Pentecost when he speaks in the future tense about building his church but it does not break the continuity of his one people.

      There is more typology that can be discussed but I wanted to talk about the old testament believers being in the church of the wilderness which becomes the church of the Lord Jesus Christ…which becomes the body of Christ and temple of God.. It is continuity, redemption, fulfillment and renewal, not two peoples of God. It continues the unity and makes it union. Disunity is healed. It the one people of God brought to fullness and completion.

      See 1 Peter 2: 1-25, 1 Peter 3: 18-22; 4:6 Ephesians 2, and Ephesians 3: 8, Colossians 2

      1. Hi DNJohn! You mention the church in the wilderness: What would your view be of those who were faithful to God in the Patriarchal age, how would you see them? Also, would a lot of what you shared in this post be the official teaching of the Orthodox church or much of your own thoughts on the matter?

        Regarding 1 Peter 3:18-20: It is thought by some that Christ went and preached to spirits in Hades (the realm of the departed spirits) while His body was in the tomb. I would be inclined to question this position! The question of WHERE the preaching was done is not as straightforward as these people assume. It can hardly be answered with certainty until it is determined WHEN the preaching is done. One depends upon the other! Whatever the answer, it must harmonize with all else revealed in scripture. On the one hand it should be observed that nothing in the text DEMANDS the conclusion that the preaching occurred while the spirits were in prison. In fact, the fair import of the language would lead one to conclude that the preaching was done “in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared.” Peter simply speaks of them as they were at the time that he wrote the letter (spirits in Hades), and not as they were when the preaching was done (disobedient people in the days of Noah). Remember, the Spirit of Christ was in the prophets of old testifying “beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow” (1 Pet 1:11). Noah was a preacher of righteousness (2 Pet 2:5) and through him Christ preached to the wicked before the flood.

      2. I am familiar with that take on that passage but that has never been the view of the Church. Even the Apostles creed confesses : “He descended into hell( hades).
        This happened after he was ” put to death in the flesh and enlivened in the spirit.” We believe as Orthodox that Christ descended into hades and took captivity captive and abolished death on that holy Saturday and delivered those who were held in sheol. He harrowed hell and was the conqueror of it. The cross is a symbol of that triumph and victory. Collosians 2: 15 talks of this as well . This is the ancient understanding. He delivered all the dead in a deliverance no less glorious but exceedingly more glorious that the Passover. Christus Victor!!! So the old testament saints are saints of the Church. We are in communion with them in Christ.

      3. I don’t think it’s correct to say that Christ descended into hell, or even the torment side of Hades. Hades has two basic sides, the torment side, and then the “bosom of Abraham” which probably refers to the ‘paradise side’ of Hades, where Jesus said the thief would be with Him that same day (Luke 16:19-31). It is also erroneous to say that Christ “abolished death.” Christ doesn’t abolish death until the last day at the general resurrection (1 Cor. 15:24-26; 52-57).
        The spirits preached to were the disobedient in the days of Noah. Why, then, would Jesus preach only to this limited number while in this realm of departed and disobedient spirits? Why not preach to all of them? Would this not make Him a respecter of persons? Yet, the bible plainly says that He is not (Acts 10:34). The view that Christ preached to such with a view to saving them contradicts all the passages that teach that at death our destiny is sealed. Judgment, remember, is based upon the deeds done in the body (2 Cor. 5:10). Furthermore, this view contradicts the lesson taught by Jesus in Luke 16:19-31. There is a great gulf between the righteous and the wicked in Hades, over which none can cross – they are eternally separated. Nothing done after death can change the eternal destiny of man (Heb. 9:27).

      4. Christ did abolish death definitively but it will be worked out historically and at the Resurrection. See it here in St. Paul’s Letter to Timothy

        2 Timothy 1:10

        Revised Standard Version
        10 and now has manifested through the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

      5. Hi DNJohn, I am glad you qualified 2 Tim. 1:10 in terms of it’s ultimate fulfillment when death is destroyed in the resurrection.

      6. Hi Aidan,

        He is not limiting it to only the disobedient of Noah’s day but he mentions it as a case in point because in the larger context he speaks of the flood of Noah as a type of Salvation as they were saved through the Water as they were in the Ark and the antype which is holy Baptism.

      7. Hi DNJohn, I’m afraid that is your opinion that he is not limiting it to the disobedient in Noah’s day, the text clearly says that it is. If this is a general statement as you claim, not only does it contradict scripture on so many levels, it also implies universal salvation for both wicked and righteous. I’m sorry but your view of this passage is unscriptural.

      8. I am not a universaliSt. Only those made righteous by God’s grace are saved. He preached to them and if they were enabled ,in this extraordinary circumstance, of the redemption of the whole world, not excluding them, but including all men, to be sanctified then our Lord could set them free. I don’t know how many of them did become cleansed by Christ…what I do know is that he rescued the righteous who were in the realm of death and allowed to go to paradise.
        Prior to Chrost’s death the gates of paradise were closed to hand. The flaming sword guarded the tree of life. Man was barred. But God became man to reconcile the world to himself and he went to announce that reconciliation and deliverance to the spirits in prison. He does have the keys of hades and of death.
        There will be those who are not saved at the last day…so I am not a universalist. Did you look up Zechariah 9:11?

      9. Hi DNJohn, I would not be too quick to connect Zechariah 9:11 to what I believe is a false interpretation of 1 Peter 3:18-20. One has to be very careful about the interpretations and connections he makes in scripture.

      10. Hi DNJohn, you wrote: “The rich man and Lazarus story is a parable so one cannot be too literalistic with the details but look more for the main message of it.”

        I don’t think this is necessarily a parable. But even if I did agree, it would not necessarily mean that it wasn’t based on real events like the parable of the sower for example, or the parable of the dragnet, in order to teach us a sobering reality concerning the kingdom of God. I think the story of the rich man and Lazarus gives us a sobering look at what to expect after death between now and judgment day! It would be foolish not to take it presently as a real place for both the wicked and the righteous.

      11. “Prior to Christ’s death the gates of paradise were closed to man…” forgive the typo in that sentence in my last post. I am typing with thumbs on my phone 🙂

      12. I do not believe that Hades is the final hell but more of a temporary place of the dead till the judgement. The wicked get a foretaste of their future judgement there. Hell is cast into the Lake of Fire, which is equivalent to Gehenna and the second death. The OT righteous were comforted there in Abraham’s bosom seperate from the wicked until they were saved by Christ on Holy Saturday. The rich man and Lazarus story is a parable so one cannot be too literalistic with the details but look more for the main message of it.

      13. I think we will have to get our terminology straight here:

        1) Hades is the temporary abode of the dead, the realm of the departed spirits.
        2) Hades is not hell, nor should it be referred to as hell, nor does hell reside in Hades. But instead, Hades, after it gives up its dead, will be cast into hell(the lake of fire) at the judgment (Rev. 20:14).
        3) For the time being, Hades contains both the wicked and the righteous who are permanently separated by a gulf over which no one can pass (Luke 16:19-31).
        4) The wicked reside in the torment side of Hades while the righteous reside in paradise (Luke 23:43) which is the good side of Hades in the bosom of Abraham (Luke 16:22).
        5) Men do not get a second chance after death (Heb. 9:27), therefore your fate is forever sealed once you land in Hades.
        6) In 1 Pet. 3:18-20 – “the spirits in prison” are identified as the wicked antedeluvians. There is no way to make the language include anyone else but them.
        7) The word “prison” simply identifies the abode of the these wicked spirits (the disobedient in Noah’s day 1 Pet. 3:20) at the time Peter wrote his epistle.
        8) The abode of wicked spirits after their departure and before the judgment is often pictured under the figure of a “prison” (2 Pet 2:4; Jude 6)

        All the wicked in Hades including all those in Noah’s day, are reserved “under punishment for the day of judgment” (2 Pet 3:9). Hence, there was no deliverance for them on Holy Saturday or on any other Saturday for that matter.

  8. DNJohn, you said; “He is not limiting it to only the disobedient of Noah’s day but he mentions it as a case in point.”

    If I understand you correctly this leaves us with two possible options:

    1) On Holy Saturday as you call it, Christ came and preached in the spirit to all the wicked spirits who were in Hades since time began in order to give them a second chance as it were. This would mean that only those wicked spirits from the beginning of time to that Holy Saturday were given a second chance, but none after Holy Saturday.
    2) Or, all wicked spirits in Hades from the beginning of time until the end of time will have opportunity to repent and be saved before judgment day.

    Neither of these positions are scriptural, nor do they make sense! I can’t imagine that every one of them wouldn’t avail of the opportunity to get out of there if they could, I know I would. So what are we left with? Either the next best thing to universalism, or extreme partiality on Christ’s part to the lucky ones on Holy Saturday. This is why I know this view is false!

    1. You have presented a false delimma to me. Neither of those options are what I believe. If you look at 1 Peter 4:5’6. You will see the answer. I will post it here.

      1 Peter 4:5-6

      5Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. 6For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

      We should not assume that God’s justice is always retributive and not redemptive. It seems that it was revealed to Saint Peter that the Flood of Noah was a temporal fleshly punishment and seeing this, some may have recognized the truth of Noah’s preaching and had faith that Noah’s God was indeed true and called out to him with repentance for their sins and thus avoided eternal judgement.

      It says they were judged according to men in the flesh ( physical chastisement) that they might live according to God in the spirit ( spiritual salvation).

      God did not remit their temporal judgement but God heard them and sent Jesus to bring them out of Hades since they had become justified by faith during the time of the 40 days. I assume that, since God is offering them ” life according to God in the spirit”.

      Wicked hearted men do not go to heaven but men who were wicked and became righteous through God’s cleansing and sanctifying work do go to heaven.

      It only seemed that it was all retribution but God used it to save some of them. Everyone Jesus took out of hades were inwardly righteous, made so by God’s grace. Jesus came and proclaimed the glad tidings of peace and set those who were captive free. Or as Saint Paul puts it, he took captivity captive and gave gifts unto men.

      No one can begin repentance after death, it must start in this life. At this time, God commands all men everywhere to repent.

      It was a time of Divine forbearance before the incarnation and Christ’s redemption of the world. Romans 3:25, Acts 17. IF Jesus, during this unique time, changed the hearts of those who died before him and were bound in hades and gave them new and clean hearts through the proclamation of the glad tidings of his redemption of the world and his abolishing of death, Glory to God! Alleluia.

      We know the righteous were taken from hades and christ was victorious over death and hades and his people shared in that victory! This is the great Passover, the Pascha..his deliverance of his people from the spiritual captivity in realm of the dead. They had comfort in the gospel but not the fullness of their salvation. Jesus brought that redemption to them!

      Isaiah 61

      1¶The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good tidings to the afflicted; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
      2to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
      3to grant to those who mourn in Zion–to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

      1. I think there are a number of assumptions and mistakes you are making in all of this which I need to clear up: First of all, the Gospel is preached only to the living because there is no opportunity for salvation after death for “it is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Secondly, the ones who were preached to are now “in prison” they are those “who once were disobedient” the ungodly; not those who repented. If your assumption is true, that would have Jesus entering into Hades and preaching to the wicked antedeluvians (the disobedient) who perished in the flood. All your assumptions regarding 1 Pet. 4:6 are based on this false interpretation!

        Thirdly: You assume that some of those in the flood repented and ultimately were saved from eternal judgment. I admit that that’s a nice thought, but you are reading far too much into these texts. And you are minimizing the fact that this was not just a physical punishment, but very much unto an eternal judgment. Listen to what Peter says about this:

        2 Peter 2:4-9 NASB
        “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, RESERVED FOR JUDGMENT;”

        “AND DID NOT SPARE THE ANCIENT WORLD, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;”

        “AND IF HE CONDEMNED THE CITIES OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;”

        “AND IF HE RESCUED RIGHTEOUS LOT, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men”

        “THEN the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, AND TO KEEP THE UNRIGHTEOUS UNDER PUNISHMENT FOR THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.”

        According to this passage, it seems clear that the ancient world is being kept under punishment for the day of Judgment! If this is what Peter said about the angels that sinned, and about the world of the ungodly in Noah’s day, and also the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah – then who are we to suggest that some might have been saved.

        Fourth: Your constant insistence that people were delivered from captivity out of Hades is just plain false. Nobody is coming out of Hades until the end of time (Rev. 20:13-14).

      2. Your declaring it false does not make it so.

        1st. The judgement that happens at death is the particular judfement that gets on into hades or paradise in the first place. It is not the final judgement on the last day, which is the eternal judgement.

        Moses obviously was taken from hades to be able to speak to Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. Jesus did descend to the lower parts of the earth, he did preach to the dead, to the spirits in prison, he did lead captivity captive and give gifts unto men. He did open paradise which had been closed to man due to the fall…paradise is where the tree of life is ( Revelation 2:7)…and man could now enter once again. He did raise up many old testament saints to prove this, when he himself was raised. Lazarus was in hades 4 days, was he not? Yet he came out before the last day. Jesus “soul was not left in hades, nor did his flesh see corruption”. You are making assumptions that are erroneous.

        2. God did not spare the ancient world from the flood. That is what he specifically referred to in that passage.
        You cannot say that every single individual person was helplessly evil. What about the young children there, for example? There is no evidence that he preached more than about righteousness and coming retribution to them . The passage about the Spirit of Christ being in the messianic prophets and testifying about the future redemption only proves Christ’s pre existence…it is a great proof text for that…but it is linquistic gymnastics and finagling to apply this to the preaching of Noah, who had a very specific mission.
        3. Yes he keeps the unrighteous under reservation for punishment…we are not talking about unjustified people here… we are talking about the righteous. Jesus abolished death…why would he keep the righteous souls in sheol until the judgement day…when his soul went there. He didn’t. He rescued them as was prophesied in the old testament. He opened the gates of paradise! Read below. He calls them “prisoners of hope” and he declared because of the blood of the covenant, he would set them free from the waterless pit.your proclamation of the good news is diminished because you deny this great deliverance of God’s people and his winning them for himself in triumph over death!

        Zechariah 9

        9Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
        Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem!
        Behold, your king is coming to you;
        righteous and having salvation is he,
        humble and mounted on a donkey,
        on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
        10I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
        and the war horse from Jerusalem;
        and the battle bow shall be cut off,
        and he shall speak peace to the nations;
        his rule shall be from sea to sea,
        and from the Riverc to the ends of the earth.
        11As for you also, because of the blood of my covenant with you,
        I will set your prisoners free from the waterless pit.
        12Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope;
        today I declare that I will restore to you double.

        4. Jesus has the keys of death and hades. Who are you to say when he can use them and how? Jesus when speaking of the blasphemy against the Spirit declares that it can’t be forgiven ” in this world or in the world to come.” This implies that forgiveness is possible for pardonable transgressions, according to the sovereign authority of God…both in this world AND the world to come. Otherwise why did the Lord say that?

        5. He said that he preached ALSO to dead men and in the verse before he says that Jesus is the judge of the living and the dead..so the word dead there means what it meant in the very preceding verse. He preached to the spirits in prison, the spirits of dead men. Here see it for yourself again literally translated

        1 Peter 4:5-6 youngs literal translation

        5who shall give an account to Him who is ready to judge living and dead, 6for for this also to dead men was good news proclaimed, that they may be judged, indeed, according to men in the flesh, and may live according to God in the spirit.

        I know it does not fit your paradigm but it is the Apostolic teaching both in the Scriptures and handed down since the beginning. You can deny if you wish but the testimony for this is solid. It is a certainty.

      3. True, my declaring it false does not make it so, but I’m not the one declaring it false, but rather, the scriptures do.

        After death comes Judgment, not, a second chance. As was said before, where you land in Hades means you already know what your eternal destiny is going to be after the final judgement. And I made no assumptions in citing Rev. 20:13-14; which clearly states that Hades will not give up its dead until the judgement. Your reference to a few momentary exceptions proves nothing. All it does is reinforce the principle that the exception proves the rule. The fact that Rev. 20:13-14 places the dead in Hades until the final judgement makes a nonsense out of everything you’ve said to the contrary!

        Quite right! God did not spare the ancient world from the flood, nor will they be spared from being kept under punishment for the day of judgement according to Peter. Anything beyond this is mere speculation. And, bringing young children into the argument is ridiculous. Young children are innocent and without sin of any kind. Will there not also be young innocent children at the end of the world next time? The thief on the cross is still in the paradise of Hades. And if the righteousness that Noah preached was enough to save him, then it was of God and enough to save them as well. Had they listened to him, then maybe we would be reading a different story.

        Your assertions about Zech. 9:11 are purely speculative and are not in keeping with what the NT teaches.

      4. Aidan,

        Please show me a scripture reference for “paradise of hades”.? Paradise has the tree of life. Certainly you would not have the tree of life planted in the realm of death?

        Paradise is heaven before the new creation. That is where the tree of life is. That is where the saints reign now in the ” millenium”, the time of the new testament. Jesus was taking the thief on the cross to paradise because he knew he was destroying hades that day! No need to send the repentant thief there! Abraham’s bosom is not a proper noun but indicates that Lazarus was located in this parable where the righteous were separated from the wicked in hades and found comfort there, with the righteous. That is still hades, not paradise.

        Hades is not the final place of eternal judgement but where those currently unfit for paradise are waiting for the judgement day or if our Sovereign Lord Jesus releases them from hades. It is good to pray for the dead for this reason as the Church has always done and as the people of Israel did before Christ was incarnate and still do to this day.

        We view salvation as dynamic, continuous thing not as a static thing. Therefore with this in mind, we can pray for the dead and commend them to God. In your system, this is incomprehensible and does not fit…but the early church would disagree with all protestants on this point. They threw the baby out with the bathwater. This not a second chance to become a believer but a continuation of what was begun in this life.

        It does not help that protestants have removed books out of the Bible that speak of these things clearly and have a diminished list of books and follow the Christ- rejecting, Jews who were then Apostate at the council of Jamnia AD 70, instead of following the Church of Christ, which had the longer list of sacred books. But that is another topic… so I use only the books we have in common for this discussion.

        Hades will give up its dead at the last day of judgement but some of the dead will be in paradise, not hades. Again unbeknownst to you, you are making unscriptural assumptions i.e that paradise is in hades… that is no where in scripture. It is an inference protestants make based on the ignorance of Christ’s descent into hades and victory over it and it assumes that since the thief went to paradise it must be the same as hades…that could not be more wrong.

        He went to paradise because Jesus was destroying hades and setting the captives there free from death’s bondage and bestowing life to those in the tombs. So he went to Paradise instead!!!

        I never said that there is a second change to become a Christian. I did say, if you recall, that repentance must begin here. A person cannot repent after death if they have not repented on this earth.

        (I do agree that children are not condemned. I am glad we both reject the concept of total depravity at birth, a most unbiblical notion. )

        You are declaring that it is not according to the New Testament but you are not proving it. Your view is speculative…One has to literally add words to the text to make it work like in the NASB…where it says the ” spirits now in prison.” Peter did not say “now”. The translators added it without warrant. Typically I like the NASB1977 but it is wrong here.

        What I am expressing about the descent of our Lord to hades has been the faith of the Church of God, founded by Christ for 2000 years. “His soul was not left in hades neither did his flesh see corruption”.

        Jesus “was in the grave with the body, in hades with the soul as God, in paradise with the thief, and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit and is himself boundless.” ( Liturgy of St Basil) This early hymn expresses it well.

        Jesus spent three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. Matthew 12:40, Ephesians 4:9, hades is always referred to as being “down”. Also called lower parts of the earth or simply under the earth.

        1 Samuel 2:6

        “The Lord killeth and maketh alive; he bringeth down to sheol and raiseth up”.

        Sheol is never described as paradise. See Psalm 18:5, psalm 116:3, 2 Samuel 22: 5,6… very much not paradise.

        Paradise was closed to man until man’s redemption by Christ…that is why he set them free. They were ransomed from death and brought to heaven by Christ to enjoy paradise with him…and await the future fulfillment that happens at the second coming of Christ when all things are made new and there is new heavens and new earth…..

        Sectarians have re-defined doctrine 2000 after the church has received it and handed it on from the Apostles. Please show me any ancient writer that calls sheol or hades or any part of it “paradise” or puts paradise in hades or show me a passage that says such a thing. You will see it is a complete redefining of what was received from the beginning…a distortion.

        You will find it is not really biblical but only an assumption necessitated by not receiving this part of the Faith of Christ.

      5. Aidan,

        Rev 20 is not giving us a picture of the resurrection of the righteous although it is one general resurrection and judgement but only showing us the wicked called “the dead” At this point the righteous are not dead but are recipients of the first resurrection. The lived and reigned with Christ. This is about those who were not experiencing Divine Life.

        Notice, you do not see anyone glorified….it is only showing us what the resurrection of condemnation will be like for the ungodly. Thus you do not see in this imagery paradise but only hades. Hades delivered up the dead that were there… This is an image of the ressurection of condemnation.

        I do not believe in two separate resurrections and judgements as you know…but this vision is only showing the demise of the wicked…so the dead in hades, it is a vision that pertains to them. Those who hold your view are seeing it as the resurrection of life and the resurrection of condemnation, but John is only showing us the one side here…the condemnation side. Therefore you have misapplied this passage in your argumentation.

      6. Hi Aidan,

        Here is some insight from the Apostle Paul as to where Paradise is:

        1 Corinthians 12

        1 I must boast; there is nothing to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. 2 I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. 3 And I know that this man was caught up into Paradise–whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows– 4 and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. 5 On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses.

        He is caught up into paradise. No one is caught up into hades but rather thrust down. Therefore hades and paradise are in no way to be seen as related. Jesus when he died, his soul descended to the lower parts of the earth, into the heart of the earth, to proclaim salvation to the captives and filled the realm of death with Life and Divinity and destroyed ,as it were, is gates and chains allowing those who were righteous and those whom he made righteous there to ascend into Paradise.

        The time before the redemption was a time of divine forbearance. This is clear from Romans 3:25. He judged men in the flesh and they died but he provided them a means to escape eternal death in his Love for mankind. 1 Peter 4:6. You are making out as though it is no different than now, after hades has been torn open and redemption has been given. ( because you deny the former…that is the error)

        Jesus won salvation for the dead and the living when he redeemed the whole world. He is Lord of the dead and living.. ( Rimans 14:6-9)Why do you begrudge that Jesus our saving God would proclaim the glad tidings to them? He redeemed them! Of course he would offer them their personal redemption, their chance to be regenerated and sanctified. He died for every human who ever lived!

        You keep referencing judgement…His death was a judgement…he says so himself…”Now is the Judgement of this world…now shall the ruler of this world be cast out. AND IF I BE LIFTED UP FROM THE EARTH, I WILL DRAW ALL UNTO ME”.

        Many will be lost, but it will not be because the Lord’s redemption did not meet them. He gave his life a ransom for all! Rather It will be because they disobeyed the Son, rejecting his salvation.

        When St.Peter talks about those reserved for punishment, he is talking about the people of our time. If God did not spare the people of old time their temporal punishment, he will not spare those of this dispensation of the New Covenant who willfully reject him of the eternal punishment. The former was a type of the latter.

        God bless.

  9. DNJohn wrote:
    “Jesus when speaking of the blasphemy against the Spirit declares that it can’t be forgiven ” in this world or in the world to come.” This implies that forgiveness is possible for pardonable transgressions, according to the sovereign authority of God…both in this world AND the world to come. Otherwise why did the Lord say that?”

    My response: I’ll quote from an article I read:
    Certain religious organizations, like the Catholic church, have seized upon this statement to suggest a purgatory-like state in which sins are remitted after death–but not this sin. “This idea of a purgatory-like state, where the souls of the dead are given a “second chance” to do penance for the sins they committed in their earthly life, finds no justification in this statement made by Christ (nor in any other biblical passage, for that matter). R.C.H. Lenski stated that Jesus’ use of the phrase under discussion meant simply “absolutely never” (1961, p. 484). Hendriksen concurred with Lenski when he wrote:

    In passing, it should be pointed out that these words by no stretch of the imagination imply that for certain sins there will be forgiveness in the life hereafter. They do not in any sense whatever support the doctrine of purgatory. The expression simply means that the indicated sin will never be forgiven (1973, p. 528).

    As the writer of Hebrews succinctly wrote, “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).”

    You also wrote:
    “A person cannot repent after death if they have not repented on this earth.”

    My response:
    This is just one of many places where you have contradicted yourself! Up above, you stated that forgiveness is possible “both in this world AND the world to come.” But, if a person has not repented in this life he cannot be forgiven in the next life. A person MUST have repented in this life! But if a person has repented in this life then he is forgiven here and now, not in the next life. The repentant thief was able to repent just before he died, and was in paradise that same day. Therefore, based on your own reasoning and upon scripture; there is no repentance and forgiveness to be sought in the next world, BECAUSE when a person repents in this world he is immediately forgiven, thus entering safely into the next world.

    That’s why Jesus said: “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3). And, “Truly, these times of ignorance God overlooked, but now commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day on which He will judge the world in righteousness..” (Acts 17:30-31). For, “it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).” Today is the day of salvation, not after you’re dead when it’s too late. This is a warning that all everywhere must repent of their sins NOW and turn to God NOW for forgiveness!

    1. Aidan,

      If you think you cannot possibly die without sins that need to be forgiven still, you are mistaken. If one says that they are without sin, they deceive themselves…as the Holy apostle John wrote. For your sake, I hope God is able to forgive sins after one dies…and for the sake of all the faithful departed.

      Repentance is an ongoing thing and requires doing works suitable for repentance and bearing fruit. I know that God can and does forgive those who have repented but are still in the process of bearing the fruits of it after death if they were believing in him.

      You view repentance as a static thing…but it is continuous and a life lived in conformity with the commandments of Christ…the renewing of one’s mind is a daily exercise. I hope you are not deluded to think you are conforming to God perfectly and will die free of all short coming and thus in need of no forgiveness. God is not bound as you describe.

      I did not contradict myself, I just know that repentance is not a once and done transaction but a continual yielding to God…which is likely imperfect when one dies and they need the mercy and forgiveness of God on that day.

      Saint Paul even prayed for his departed friend onesiphorus that God would grant him mercy. He wrote that after his death, which proves your argument is not correct according to the Faith. See 2 Timothy 1:18.

      1. DNJohn wrote:
        “If you think you cannot possibly die without sins that need to be forgiven still, you are mistaken. If one says that they are without sin, they deceive themselves…as the Holy apostle John wrote. For your sake, I hope God is able to forgive sins after one dies…and for the sake of all the faithful departed.”

        My Response:
        I think you know that that’s not what I was talking about! I wasn’t referring FAITHFUL CHRISTIANS (1 Jn. 1:6-10). But I was referring to the unbelieving and to the unfaithful unrepentant among the fallen away.

        “IF we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. BUT if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.

        IF we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. IF we confess our sins, He 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.”

        So, yes, that has to be the practice of the faithful Christian, and I leave the rest up to a faithful God!🙃

      2. Those who fall away from faith in christ or engage in willful rebellion against him in grave sins endanger themselves. I am reminded of Hebrews 10:26.and also the passages where Paul lists sins and says that those who practice those things will not inherit the kingdom of God. We do agree on that. Once saved always saved is very dangerous teaching. It is making as though conditional promises are unconditional. It soothes a person in their sins.

  10. DNJohn wrote: “Please show me a scripture reference for “paradise of hades”.?

    Response: Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Acts 2:27 “For You will not leave my soul in Hades,..” Acts 2:31 “he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades,..” Jesus had spent those first 3 days and 3 nights in the paradise side of Hades, not anywhere else. He had not yet ascended into heaven to His Father: John 20:17–Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ” BUT, HE DID ASCEND BACK INTO HEAVEN AFTER 40 DAYS: When a cloud received Him out of their sight, the apostles were told as they watched–“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

    DNJohn wrote: Regarding Hades, “Those currently unfit for paradise are waiting for the judgement day or if our Sovereign Lord Jesus releases them from hades. It is good to pray for the dead for this reason..Therefore with this in mind, we can pray for the dead and commend them to God.”

    Response: I grew up in Catholicism, and I can tell you this, that this sounds very much like a Purgatory-like state you are advocating here! Again, you seem to be contradicting yourself with all sorts of inconsistencies in your teaching. How could this be true if Hades, according to you, is destroyed? For you said that the Thief “went to paradise because Jesus was destroying hades and setting the captives there free.” If I understand you correctly, only those in the torment side of Hades are left there for now! But that would be the wicked and you want to allow them a second chance? Not what the Bible teaches!

    Instead of quoting and following the teachings of uninspired men, it would be best to stick with the teachings given by the inspired men of the New Testament era.

    1. Paradise is now in heaven per 1 Corinthians 12: 1-6 not below in Hades. It is incorrect to put paradise as a part of Hades…completely contrary to scripture.

      Eastern Orthodoxy is the Original historical Apostolic Church. Rome broke off in schism and went their own way.

      Your bias against Rome is blinding you. Rome is not the Church but a schism from her.

      You are basing your notions on the rich man and Lazarus parable.. first the righteous being separated and in communion with Abraham is not paradise. It is just a divine provision of comfort.

      Abraham is not there anymore . He was delivered and taken to heaven where paradise is, when Jesus died .

      In his soul, Jesus went to Hades to break the bonds of death. He had just won eternal life on the cross for all of them. They were then taken UP to paradise, where the tree of life is.

      Those who die unfit for Paradise will go to Hades and wait for the mercy of God or the day of judgement getting a foretaste of one or the other.. This is why Orthodox Christians pray for the departed.

      Everyone does not go to hades. That is not biblical. Paul was clear…Paradise is UP in heaven now. The thief went there and so did all those who were taken by Christ on that Holy Saturday. This is the faith of the church of God. Do not let you anti Roman bias blind you.

      I am not Roman Catholic, I see them as schismatic and wrong.

      Please, please Read the 1 Corinthian 12:1-6 to see the Apostolic testimony as to where Paradise really is. So follow what this inspired men wrote instead of reading paradise into a passage that never says paradise.

      God bless.

      1. DNJohn, you wrote: “I am not Roman Catholic, I see them as schismatic and wrong.”

        Response: Well, I, too, am not Roman Catholic and I see them as schismatic and wrong. Yet you declare: “Your bias against Rome is blinding you.” Well, if that makes me biased and blind, then that makes two of us!

        You also wrote: “Those who die unfit for Paradise will go to Hades and wait for the mercy of God or the day of judgement getting a foretaste of one or the other.. This is why Orthodox Christians pray for the departed.”

        Response: Again, there is just no basis for this in scripture, it is completely unscriptural and just another form of purgatory! You have simply being unable to give an adequate response to what Peter said about those who perished in Sodom and Gomorrah, and in the flood. To suggest that some, who you admit are unfit for Paradise, will somehow make it into heaven, is a total fabrication and an addition to the word of God. You assume too much–because you are defending the traditions of uninspired men and not the word of God. Well, here’s what an inspired apostle said; it would be good if you could learn not go beyond this scripture!

        2 Peter 2:4-9 NASB
        “For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but cast them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, RESERVED FOR JUDGMENT;”

        “AND DID NOT SPARE THE ANCIENT WORLD, but preserved Noah, a preacher of righteousness, with seven others, when He brought a flood upon the world of the ungodly;”

        “AND IF HE CONDEMNED THE CITIES OF SODOM AND GOMORRAH to destruction by reducing them to ashes, having made them an example to those who would live ungodly lives thereafter;”

        “And if He rescued righteous Lot, oppressed by the sensual conduct of unprincipled men”

        “THEN the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, AND TO KEEP THE UNRIGHTEOUS UNDER PUNISHMENT FOR THE DAY OF JUDGMENT.”

        Did you get that? They are being kept under punishment for the day of judgment! That’s about as much as you can say.

      2. Concerning that passage from Saint Peter.. I do get it and see him using ” if, then” typology. If he did not spare the people of the old testament their temporal punishment, then he will not spare the people NOW who are wicked of their eternal punishment. It is an example given of a general principle to be a warning for us to be penitent and not presumptuous.

        This is not purgatory, it is hades.

        Romish purgatory doctrine has a lot of concepts that are foreign to orthodoxy and repudiated in orthodoxy.

        Hades is the same as sheol in the Hebrew Bible and is absolutely not paradise. Sheol is in the heart of the earth. Paradise is up in heaven. This is in the Word of God as I noted in other posts. 1 Corinthians 12:1-3.

        I posted several times. Maybe you have not seen them yet.

        The Jews pray for the dead and did before the incarnation of Christ. It is not from the Roman Catholic church. It is from the church of the old testament and continued into the new testament church with the good news that Jesus liberated those who had been bound in hades and believed in him. Believers need not go to hades anymore. Heaven is opened!!

        The Christian Church has always done prayers for the dead…this is proven historically and archeologically and is not contrary to scripture but perfectly consistent with scriptural practice. There is no commandment against it even though it was the practice historically of the Jews. It is in all the early Christian liturgies and many ancient inscriptions. It is recorded in the book of 2 Maccabees.

        It is based on the Christian teaching of Hades and Paradise without the baggage added by the Romish Doctrine of purgatory.

        I am not blinded by a bias against Rome as our doctrine has some minor similarities but also some very important distinctions.

        Rome kept adding to the original doctrine layer after layer when they split from orthodoxy. They have this teaching called development of dogma where they say doctrine develops and grows .

        We refute that concept and assert that doctrine must be preserved how the apostles delivered it to us without addition or subtraction( which is what protestantism has done).

        God bless.

      3. DNJohn,

        It doesn’t really matter where Hades, the intermediate place of departed spirits is, or what your Orthodox uninspired fathers have believed and handed down. The only thing that really matters is what the bible teaches; for that is the true apostolic tradition that has been handed down. Therefore, I don’t need to hear about the teachings of Basil, or anyone else of that ilk! I need to hear what Jesus taught, and Peter, and the rest of the apostles – as far as I’m concerned, anything beyond that is suspect.

        You wrote: “Concerning that passage from Saint Peter.. I do get it and see him using ” if, then” typology. If he did not spare the people of the old testament their temporal punishment, then he will not spare the people NOW who are wicked of their eternal punishment. It is an example given of a general principle to be a warning for us..”

        You still don’t get it, because you are still looking at it through the lens of your Orthodoxy rather than scripture! Peter clearly teaches that God, not sparing the angels who sinned, nor the ancient world, nor Sodom and Gomorrah, but destroyed the ungodly from off the face of the earth, is now keeping them under punishment for the day of judgment. Do you think what these angels received is just a temporal punishment and not an eternal judgment? I don’t think so! Neither is the rest! But he puts them all together as a warning of the destiny of the unrighteous and ungodly! Verse 9 brings it all together: It says, “then the Lord knows how to deliver the godly out of temptations and to reserve the unjust under punishment for the day of judgment”

        You can suppress the truth if you want, but let that be on your own head–I can’t make you accept it.

      4. Hi Aidan,,

        It does matter where paradise is not because Jesus delivered the souls from Hades and now they are in paradise with him, freed from the bonds of spiritual death, having received the first resurrection.

        You have declared that hades is in paradise and there is not a single passage that says so. You must be following ” uninspired men. You deny that Jesus went to the heart of the earth as St Matthew taught to fulfil the sign of Jonah, which Jonah prophetically called the ” Belly of Sheol”…not paradise. Instead you call it paradise…which the Apostle Paul says paradise ( where the thief went) is up in heaven. Two different things.

        To sheol below is actually where Jesus went with his soul and took captivity captive and gave gifts unto men, having preached to dead men, to the spirits in prison…which i have shown from both testaments, but you follow uninspired men who just dismiss it.

        And if you offer an interpretation on what something means, I can simply say you are an uninspired man. You just destroyed preaching/teaching tself. Solo scriptura is what you are expressing . Which ironically is not biblical. In the services at your church, they should just read the Bible aloud without comment with no giving of the sense of the passage read, because doing so would open people up to uninspired men.

        Men like the “Angels that sinned, which God did not spare” are a typological example too but different. Men like them i.e those hardened and irreversiblely blinded in sin, would not have been delivered by Christ because they would have been judicially hardened, essentially having committed the eternal sin, they became, as it were, devils themselves. This is what Jesus called Judas !

        But sheol held captive, not just devilish people like that but everyone without exception. Jesus brought his proclamation of deliverance for all the dead in hades but there were those already eternally condemned who were sealed in damnation did not follow Christ when he came to do this. Those particular people “could not be forgiven in this world or the world to come”.

        St Cyril of Alexander comments on this distinction. (The biblical writers are not the only ones who can be inspired. Stephen the first Deacon was inspired but not a biblical author…but anyway, I digress. Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God, our Lord says…that is bigger than just those who penned the scriptures)

        St Cyril of Alexander who defended the Incarnation of Christ against the heretics of his day and is a champion of thr Faith during the 5th century,, explains that the ones like I am describing remained completely blind to Christ when he came to them. They did not even see him.

        I’m this passage the word hell means sheol/hades not gehenna…keep that in mind.

        “Here Peter answers the question to which some objections have beem raised, namely if the Incarnation was so beneficial, why was Christ not incarnated for such a long time, given that he went to the spirits which were in prison and preached to them also? In order to deliver all those who would believe, Christ taught those who were alive on earth at the time of His incarnation, and these others acknowledged Him when He appeared to them in the lower regions, and thus they too benefited from His coming. Going in the soul, He preached to those who were in hell, appearing as one soul to other souls. When the gatekeepers of Hell saw Him, they fled; the bronze gates were broken open, and the iron chains were undone.And the only-begotten Son shouted with authority to the the suffering souls, according to the word of the new covenant, saying to those in chains: “Come out!” and to those in darkness: “Be enlightened.” In other words, He preached to those who were in hell also, so that He might save all who would believe in Him. For both those who were alive on earth during the time of His Incarnation and those who were in hell had a chance to acknowledge Him.The souls of those who practised idolatry and outrageous ungodliness, as well as those who were blinded by fleshly lusts did not have the power to see him and they were not delivered.’

        The rich man and Lazarus is a parable, which is evident in the fact that the descriptions do not fit either hades or gehenna but have elements of both…that is not the point of the parable…to give details about the afterlife to create a neat outline of what it entails, but to warn people that they to heed the word of God and repent and have charity for others. Unlike the selfish rich man full of himself, devoid of love…indicative of the pharisees of that day. Jesus mixed elements from both hades and gehenna to give us the hint to not take this as a literal portrayal of what happens in the intermediate state but to look for the intended message. He gives the character the name Lazarus, which means helped by God and the rich man he gives no name, showing that he is not known by God.

      5. Hi DNJohn, As you will see in this post the term “Paradise” was universally used to mean a garden, pleasure-ground; grove, park: and the Septuagint translators used it of the garden of Eden, but that it was also used in other respects throughout Scripture, and not just to one thing.

        According to Vine,

        Paradise:
        “Is an Oriental word, first used by the historian Xenophon, denoting “the parks of Persian kings and nobles.” It is of Persian origin (Old Pers. pairidaeza, akin to Gk. peri, “around,” and teichos, “a wall”) whence it passed into Greek. See the Sept., e.g., in Neh 2:8; Ecc 2:5; Sgs 4:13. The Sept. translators used it of the garden of Eden, Gen 2:8, and in other respects, e.g., Num 24:6; Isa 1:30; Jer 29:5; Eze 31:8, 9. (To the oriental mind it expressed the sum total of blessedness)”

        According to Thayer:
        1. “Among the Persians a grand enclosure or preserve, hunting ground, park, shady and well watered, in which wild animals, were kept for the hunt; it was enclosed by walls and furnished with towers for the hunters

        2. Universally, a garden, pleasure-ground; grove, park: it passed into the Hebrew language, פַּרְדֵּס, Nehemiah 2:8; Ecclesiastes 2:5; Song of Solomon 4:13; besides in the Sept. mostly for גַּן; thus, for that delightful region, ‘the garden of Eden,’ in which our first parents dwelt before the fall: Genesis 2:8ff; 3:1ff.

        3. That part of Hades which was thought by the later Jews to be the abode of the souls of the pious until the resurrection: Luke 23:43, cf. 16:23f. But some (e. g. Dillmann (as below, p. 379)) understand that passage of the heavenly paradise.

        4. An upper region in the heavens: 2 Corinthians 12:4 (where some maintain, others deny, that the term is equivalent to ὁ τρίτος οὐρανός in 2 Corinthians 12:2); According to the opinion of many of the church Fathers, the paradise in which our first parents dwelt before the fall still exists, neither on earth nor in the heavens, but above and beyond the world”

        5. heaven”

        According to Strong’s definitions:
        “παράδεισος parádeisos, par-ad’-i-sos; of Oriental origin (compare H6508); a park, i.e. (specially), an Eden (place of future happiness, “paradise”):—paradise.”

        Gilbrant on paradeisos –
        “The term paradeisos is a Greek loanword of Persian origin, from the ancient Persian pairidoza, “a walled garden.” The Greek historian Xenophon used this term in reference to the fields belonging to Persian kings and wealthy people (Liddell-Scott). The Septuagint uses paradeisos in Nehemiah 2:8 in reference to the forests of a king. In Ecclesiastes 2:5 Solomon said that he made himself gardens and orchards (paradeisos). This term is used in Numbers 24:6 of “gardens by the river’s side,” and Isaiah 1:30 uses it figuratively in a judgment prophecy of a “garden that hath no water” (cf. Jeremiah 29:5; Ezekiel 31:8,9). The Septuagint also uses paradeisos in reference to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2:8). Furthermore, as the Jews recognized the truth of a general resurrection from the dead, they surmised that the abode of the righteous after their resurrection would be the Garden of Eden, or paradise. In contrast, the wicked would be sent to Gehenna (see 1060). By the time of Christ, speculation arose concerning the state of the dead prior to the resurrection. Some, then, divided Sheol (the location of the shadowy postdeath existence) into two compartments: in one were the souls of the wicked, in the other—named paradise—were the righteous. MacArthur summarizes the development of the concept and use of the word paradise in Israel’s history as follows: (1) it referred to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2–3); (2) it described the abode of the righteous dead prior to resurrection; and (3) it referred to the eternal home of the righteous (“Paradise,” Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible, 3:655).”

        But our argument is simply focused on that ONE aspect of the use of “Paradise,” namely, the abode of the righteous dead prior to resurrection; the paradise side of Hades spoken of in (Lk. 16:23; 23:43; Acts 2:27,31) where Jesus’ spirit went immediately after His death while His body lay in the tomb.

        Regards, Aidan

      6. You are making the same mistake you accused rhe dispensational folks of, taking a figurative passage i.e the parable of rich man and Lazarus, and using it as the interpretive key of the plain passages. Paradise is a place of greenness and beauty. Please show me a passage in which hades is described as a paradise. Hades/Sheol is always described otherwise.

      7. DNJohn, the rich man and Lazarus is indeed a plain passage of scripture! Just because something is a parable does not mean it’s not a plain passage or real. The parables of the dragnet and the prodigal son for example are plain passages that we can understand. You are making a grave mistake if you think that the spiritual is not just as real and literally true as the physical and the material. And I did show you where Hades is a paradise, but you are unwilling to make the necessary inference to find the truth! And by the looks of this post, you are also unwilling to acknowledge all the evidence I gave you concerning the different usage of the term “paradise” in Scripture. The fact that you deny the possibility of its usage in Hades proves my point! Please show me a passage which shows Jesus coming out of Hades prior to His resurrection?

      8. Hi Aidan,,

        Obviously his soul would have to leave hades to return to his body before he could even be resurrected. It was at his resurrection that he takes them out of hades with him. Thus he even raises some of the bodies of the saints as visible signs that he delivered them from hades. They appeared to people after the resurrection. See Matthew 27: 50-53

        He does not ascend to the Father’s throne as the Exalted God man until his bodily ascension as we discussed before, 40 days later.

        That does not mean Christ did not ascend into paradise with the ransomed saints the same way he descended into hades for them….”in the spirit” 1 Peter 3:18 ff. If he can descend in the spirit to the depths, he can ascend in the spirit to Paradise. Paul did it and you so did Christ with his people. Paul was caught up to paradise, not knowing whether he was in the body or out of it!

        Jesus in his Divinity is not circumscibed or bound by any laws of physics. He walks through shut doors…vanishes out of sight…etc in the gospels which illustrate this point.. He saw Nathaniel under the fig tree when he was completely somewhere else…which is another example. Etc etc.

        To believe this doctrine about Paradise being in hades, you would have to completely destroy the meaning of the word “paradise” itself. As hades is described, even for the righteous, as anything but paradisical ( green, lush, beautiful, restful) and something to be delivered from.

      9. DNJohn, I thought you were indicating He brought them into heaven while He was still in the tomb. Anyhow, now you have clarified that you believe He did so after His resurrection and before His ascension into heaven.
        May I remind our readers that this is pure speculation; that there is absolutely no evidence for this anywhere in the pages of scripture. The scriptures tell us the body without the spirit is dead therefore it is even more speculative to say that His spirit ascended into heaven after it had been united with His body. And let’s not forget that Jesus said He had not yet ascended to His Father, period. The fact that he was in Abraham’s bosom gives us every confidence that there’s a paradise in Hades😃

      10. Is Jesus human or human and Divine ? You seem to forget his Divinity and make the rules of mortal men apply to him. Jesus existed as spirit before he was incarnate with a human body and rational soul. Jesus is not bound as mortal men are.

      11. St. PAUL writes to the church at Corinth that “to be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord”. No waiting till the last day to be with Christ who is in heaven. He wrote to the Church at Phillipi that “he longed to depart and be with Christ, which was far better than abiding in the flesh”. These two verses alone prove that due to the work of our Redeemer and Conquerer Jesus Christ the situation of those who die now is different from the time before …and also show that although the fullness of glory comes at the bodily resurrection, the righteous still go to be with Christ in heaven receiving a foretaste of the future glory.

      12. Abraham is no longer in any part of Hades. He was before the death of our Lord but not now.

        St Paul wrote this: ” For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father…of whom the whole family IN HEAVEN and earth is named…” Ephesians 3:15. You exclude the truth that some of the Family of God is in heaven!

        The righteous Martyrs are seen worshipping God in heaven before the judgement day in Revelation 15:1-8

        Revelation 15:1-8

        1And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvelous, seven angels who had seven plagues, which are the last, because in them the wrath of God is finished.

        2And I saw, as it were, a sea of glass mixed with fire, and those who had come off victorious from the beast and from his image and from the number of his name, standing on the sea of glass, holding harps of God. 3And they sang the song of Moses the bond-servant of God and the song of the Lamb, saying,

        “Great and marvelous are Thy works,
        O Lord God, the Almighty;
        Righteous and true are Thy ways,
        Thou King of the nations.

        4“Who will not fear, O Lord, and glorify Thy name?
        For Thou alone art holy;
        For ALL THE NATIONS WILL COME AND WORSHIP BEFORE THEE,
        FOR THY RIGHTEOUS ACTS HAVE BEEN REVEALED.”

        5After these things I looked, and the temple of the tabernacle of testimony in heaven was opened, 6and the seven angels who had the seven plagues came out of the temple, clothed in linen, clean and bright, and girded around their breasts with golden girdles. 7And one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls full of the wrath of God, who lives forever and ever. 8And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from His power; and no one was able to enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were finished.”

      13. Epbesians 4

        7But to each one of us grace was given according to the measure of Christ’s gift. 8Therefore it says,
        “WHEN HE ASCENDED ON HIGH,
        HE LED CAPTIVE A HOST OF CAPTIVES,
        AND HE GAVE GIFTS TO MEN.”

        9(Now this expression, “He ascended,” what does it mean except that He also had descended into the lower parts of the earth? 10He who descended is Himself also He who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.)
        ____

        Romans 10:

        6But the righteousness based on faith speaks thus, “DO NOT SAY IN YOUR HEART, ‘WHO WILL ASCEND INTO HEAVEN?’ (that is, to bring Christ down), 7or ‘WHO WILL DESCEND INTO THE ABYSS?’ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead)

        This passage from St Paul in Ephesians 4 is quoted from the Psalms. It is psalm 67(68) : 19 LXX

        ” You ascended on high, You led captivity captive; You received gifts for mankind, Truly for the disobedient, so that they might dwell there.”

        Psalm 49:15. ” But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; For He will receive me. “

      14. Acts 2:
        24 But God raised Him from the dead, putting an end to the agony of death, since it was impossible for Him to be held in its power. 25 For David says of Him,

        ‘I saw the Lord continually before me,
        Because He is at my right hand, so that I will not be shaken.
        26 Therefore my heart was glad and my tongue was overjoyed;
        Moreover my flesh also will live in hope;
        27 For You will not abandon my soul to Hades,
        Nor will You allow Your Holy One to undergo decay.
        28 You have made known to me the ways of life;
        You will make me full of gladness with Your presence.’

        29 “ Brothers, I may confidently say to you regarding the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 So because he was a prophet and knew that God had sworn to him with an oath to seat one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he looked ahead and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, that He was neither abandoned to Hades, nor did His flesh suffer decay. 32 It is this Jesus whom God raised up, a fact to which we are all witnesses. 33 Therefore, since He has been exalted at the right hand of God, and has received the promise of the Holy Spirit from the Father, He has poured out this which you both see and hear.

      15. Matthew 12:40;
        “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”🙂

      16. This is an ancient prayer of the Church offered in the service of Holy Communion. The service is called the Divine Liturgy. This captures the full Divinity and omnipresence of our Lord Jesus Christ. This applies to our discussion. See also the psalm of David below.

        “In the grave with the body, in hades with the soul as God, in paradise with the thief, and on the throne with the Father and the Spirit, wast thou O Christ, filling all things , thyself uncircumscribed ( boundless)”.

        Yes He was in hades…in the heart of the earth…in another sense he was the thief in paradise…

        Psalm 139

        To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David.

        O LORD, thou hast searched me and known me! 2 Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up; thou discernest my thoughts from afar. 3 Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. 4 Even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. 5 Thou dost beset me behind and before, and layest thy hand upon me. 6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it. 7 Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? 8 If I ascend to heaven, thou art there! If I make my bed in Sheol, thou art there!

        You can act as though Jesus, in the spirit, is bound by time and place…but if you do, your are lessening his full Divinity.

      17. In the context of Matthew 12:40, it would seem that Jesus means the grave when He speaks of being in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights.😉 Just saying!

      18. Jesus’ grave was not in the “heart of the earth” or in the “abyss” Romans 10:17.

      19. The Catholic Church also have many ancient prayers in their services, but that doesn’t make them true. And they claim to have a line or a succession from Peter which many people have fallen for. They also make claim to the apostolic traditions and the right to interpret scripture for the common folk. But I’ve learned a long time ago not to put my trust in the claims of men.

      20. Aidan,

        I can agree with you on the falsenes of Rome.. The Roman Church is not catholic in the true sense of the word but is sectarian. They have left the consensus and unity of all the Apostolic Churches and exalted one bishop above all others and unilaterally decreed dogma.. The papal magisterial teaching overrides everything in romanism. They have not persevered in “the Faith once delivered unto the saints” but have adopted a theory that allows doctrinal development. This is just a loop hole they wrongly use for papal additions. They have put him in the place of Christ. Christ Jesus is the sole head of the Church.. I commend you for rejecting the claims of Rome. We reject a lot of the same teachings as you do.

        A person can even be self- deceived as scripture tells us too. So rejecting the claims of others does not make one safe and assured of correct interpretation of the Divinely inspired Holy Scripture. How does one know their interpretations are correct? …That they are drawing the right inferences and conclusions?

        I therefore reject both papal and private interpretation of Scripture as being unreliable in determining Doctrine.

      21. As Adam died spiritually and then died physically.. Jesus saves first by granting a spiritual resurrection and then a physical one. Because of Christ’s redemption, man need not be held in the spiritual realm of death i.e hades but has been freed by Christ to be in the heavenly paradise, living and reigning. Jesus has already ” abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel.” 2 Timothy 1:8,14.

        Your proclamation obscures the present aspect of the Good news and keeps men in sheol/hades where they had always been since Adam, as if they were unredeemed. We await the redemption of our body but our soul can still be in heaven due to Christ’s victory.

        The idea that men must still wait in some part of Hades is a diminished Gospel. Death has already been abolished. Hades has already be destroyed and conquered by Christ’s descent there. He took captivity captive! The theif got to skip hades altogether. Jesus met him in paradise where he was spiritually as God. In his human Soul (united with his Divinity), Jesus went down into hades to deliver the ones captive there.

        Man can choose to go to sheol/hades sadly but a way of escape has been provided. This is the present experience of the Good News. The thief was the first man to die to completely skip going to Sheol. Those who died before him, who believed the Gospel when Jesus brought them the Good news, will be saved just as gratuitously as the theif and will be delivered from Hades, where they had been imprisoned for centuries. They are now in the heavenly paradise.

        On the last day, physical death will end, and a bodily resurrection of every human being will occur in which the soul and body will be reunited. Bodily Death will be destroyed but those who have chosen death by rejecting the Divine Life will have eternal death, the second death for ever, even though they had been resurrected because they rejected an accomplished eternal redemption and chose evil. This is not speculation. It is true dogmatic theology.

        Saying that men are still in hades and Christ left hades himself in the resurrection and yet kept his people behind to wait there till the Last Day unnessesarily, obscures the good news and is unbecoming for Christ the deliverer and even denies what the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4.

        Why would he bring himself out of hades and leave his own people behind. There is no way that happened! Our Saviour would not do that!

      22. There is no paradise side of hades. Paradise is in heaven. The word expressly tells us that.. this does not fit your theory .. That is eisogesis.

        Jesus went to paradise that day and the theif would be with him, because he liberated the bound souls, who were in hades by descending there. He proclaimed glad tidings to them…the Gospel. 1Peter 4:5,6

        The verse you mention is POST resurrection and as the God- Man he had not ascended to his place at the right hand “of the Father”. So yes, he did not ascend ” to the Father” after his resurrection until his 40 days of teaching were done,, but he did go to “Paradise”with the ransomed saints ” in the spirit”. Two different contexts.

        He waited till he was embodied again to elevate man’s nature by seating it at the right hand of the majesty on high. This was the complete reversal of the Fall and restored our destiny to be in the likeness of God. This is what we strive for…to grow in the divine likeness. Jesus made it possible through his ascension back to God, with the totality of human nature which he had thereby healed and redeemed. Jesus is a forerunner for us as the apostles tell us in other places.

        In one sense being the omnipresent unchanging God, he never left the bosom of the Father. He came down from heaven in the sense that he became an incarnate man and walked among us. He was condescending to us in our need without changing in his Divinity.

        God bless.

      23. DNJohn wrote: “Please show me a scripture reference for “paradise of hades”.?

        Response: I’m still waiting for you to respond to these passages of scripture which clearly show that Jesus only went back into heaven after spending 40 days with His disciples! In fact, just after He had risen from the dead He told Mary that He had not yet ascended to His Father. Therefore, in view of this, you’ve got some explaining to do.

        Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Acts 2:27 “For You will not leave my soul in Hades,..” Acts 2:31 “he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades,..” Jesus had spent those first 3 days and 3 nights in the paradise side of Hades, not anywhere else. He had not yet ascended into heaven to His Father: John 20:17–Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to Me, for I have not yet ascended to My Father; but go to My brethren and say to them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, and to My God and your God.’ ” BUT, HE DID ASCEND BACK INTO HEAVEN AFTER 40 DAYS: When a cloud received Him out of their sight, the apostles were told as they watched–“Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).

      24. Hi Aidan,,

        Some more words about the rich man and Lazarus parable….

        The fact that Lazarus and the rich man were having back and forth conversations shows that they were not in separate compartments. The great gulf fixed and uncrossible by man, is the difference in the spiritual condition and subsequent experience of the two states of humans there…the virtuous and the impious. It is figurative and parabolic language.. they were not geographically seperate as they were conversing fluently with each other.

        The immaterial fire felt by the wicked was not felt by the righteous….rather he had comfort in the embrace of Abraham. It was not literal seperate compartments with a ” paradise side” which is shown by the apostolic teaching that paradise instead is in heaven not in hades below.

        Righteous were in hades before the cross, but those who are sanctified do not go there now but have instead a spiritual resurrection to life eternal in paradise. They are in heaven awaiting the bodily resurrection and the fullness of their glory, which will happen at the judgement sent of Christ our God.

      25. Hmmm!!! Seems like a lot of speculation here – no point in getting into this with you!

      26. Aidan, There was indeed a sense in which Lazarus and the rich man were afar off from each other ( in a spiritual sense) and a sense in which they could converse ( not a geographical separation). My point was that they were not literally in geographically different “compartments ” or “sides” and Jesus is giving a parable here…not appropriate to take the various details literally. All other passages put all the dead including the righteous in a gloomy sheol, described in not paradisical terms. All one has to do is do a word search for sheol in the Bible hub website and this will become apparent.

        They needed deliverance from this realm of death. However God was with the righteous there and comforted and protected them from the wicked. Providing them with spiritual light despite their being exiled from paradise. God would bring the everlasting Light to them at the cross and they were raised up with Christ, leaving their exile behind. I love this psalm below showing the omnipresence of God….that he is with us…no matter where we are! Enjoy.

        Psalm 139( NASB77)

        7Where can I go from Thy Spirit?
        Or where can I flee from Thy presence?

        8If I ascend to heaven, Thou art there;
        If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, Thou art there.

        9If I take the wings of the dawn,
        If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,

        10Even there Thy hand will lead me,
        And Thy right hand will lay hold of me.

        11If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me,
        And the light around me will be night,”

        12Even the darkness is not dark to Thee,
        And the night is as bright as the day.
        Darkness and light are alike to Thee.

        13For Thou didst form my inward parts;
        Thou didst weave me in my mother’s womb.

        14I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
        Wonderful are Thy works,
        And my soul knows it very well.

        15My frame was not hidden from Thee,
        When I was made in secret,
        And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth.

        16Thine eyes have seen my unformed substance;
        And in Thy book they were all written,
        The days that were ordained for me,
        When as yet there was not one of them.

        17How precious also are Thy thoughts to me, O God!
        How vast is the sum of them!

        18If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand.
        When I awake, I am still with Thee.

        19O that Thou wouldst slay the wicked, O God;
        Depart from me, therefore, men of bloodshed.

        20For they speak against Thee wickedly,
        And Thine enemies take Thy name in vain.

        21Do I not hate those who hate Thee, O LORD?
        And do I not loathe those who rise up against Thee?

        22I hate them with the utmost hatred;
        They have become my enemies.

        23Search me, O God, and know my heart;
        Try me and know my anxious thoughts;

        24And see if there be any hurtful way in me,
        And lead me in the everlasting way.

  11. DNJohn, it is worthy of note that the development of the concept and use of the word paradise in Israel’s history seemingly was as follows:
    (1) it referred to the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2–3); (2) it described the abode of the righteous dead prior to resurrection; and (3) it referred to the eternal home of the righteous.

    Obviously I’m the only one willing to consider the possibility that paradise may have been used to refer to all of the above! It is certain that number (2) above is true from the fact that Jesus is said to have been in Hades while He was in the grave, yet at the same time He was in “paradise” with the repentant thief. Seeing that there is no scriptural evidence of Him being anywhere else other than Hades for those 3 days and nights in the tomb, we would have to conclude that there IS a paradise in Hades. This is obviously where Abraham is, in the rich man and Lazarus.

    Luke 23:43 And Jesus said to him, “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Yet Jesus went to Hades according to our next passage:

    Acts 2:26,27,31;
    Therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad;
    Moreover my flesh also will rest in hope.
    For You will not leave my soul in Hades,
    Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
    he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.

    Obviously then the paradise side of Hades is the place that was “afar off” where Abraham and Lazarus is; take note: “And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom” (Luke 16:23).

    The truth is clear and simple, Jesus went to the paradise side of Hades for those 3 days; but as the scripture says, His soul was not be left in Hades, nor did His flesh undergo decay!

    1. Hi Aidan,,

      Let me explain it theologically. There is only one Paradise, biblically speaking, and it is where the tree of life is. It is where God walks with man. It is called the Paradise of God. It is a place of peace and beauty.

      Man was barred from it until the redemption. Thus there was a flaming sword guarding it in Genesis after the fall. Thus it is absolutely impossible that hades is where paradise is because people went there to wait for the redemption precisely so that they would be able to return to Paradise! We were banished from Paradise due to the fall. We needed more than forgiveness to return. We needed the redemption of our very nature.

      Because Jesus redeemed mankind on the cross, the repentant theif was able to skip hades and go to paradise…where Jesus as God dwelt with the Father and the Spirit.

      Our boundless Lord Jesus Christ went down to hades as a human soul among other souls. (His human soul was inseparable from his Divinity.) HE went to down to hades AND hades thought it had captured another mere man. Instead it met GOD and was demolished and the captives were set free. Jesus took captivity captive! All the righteous were taken to Paradise, from which they had been exiled.

      Thus theologically,, it is impossible that pre-redeemed fallen people lived in “Paradise” in hades( the places are mutually exclusive) …and it is impossible that once ransomed and rescued by Christ’s descent into hades that they would remain in hades…instead of going to the now heavenly paradise.

      You are making a faulty inference based on the Theif getting to go to Paradise and Jesus as God the Word being there with him…This is unrelated to Jesus’ descent into hades with his Divinized human Soul to set the captives free and take them to their homeland in Paradise. Two separate things.

      God bless.

      1. DNJohn wrote:
        “Let me explain it theologically. There is only one Paradise, biblically speaking, and it is where the tree of life is. It is where God walks with man. It is called the Paradise of God. It is a place of peace and beauty.

        Man was barred from it until the redemption. Thus there was a flaming sword guarding it in Genesis after the fall. We were banished from Paradise due to the fall.”

        My Response:
        You say there is only one Paradise, and that it’s the one with the flaming sword in Genesis from where man was banished from? But that’s the garden of Eden that was on earth in Genesis 2-3, not up in heaven as you keep insisting! You can’t have it both ways, it’s either one or the other – but in Genesis 2 it’s on earth! And if it has literally been opened up again to redeemed man, as you say, then where is it? People have been searching for it for years around the Tigris and nobody has seen a beautiful garden! Perhaps it IS there, but invisible, along with it’s inhabitants?

        And, isn’t it just amazing how your Cyril of Alexandria actually got a glimpse of what happened in Hades when Christ went there, things none of the rest of us have seen, amazing!😉

      2. I can have it both ways as we see the tree of life in the heavenly new Jerusalem in the Book of Revelation. God evidently moves things. 😉

      3. That scene in Revelation has yet to be fulfilled. But I’m glad that you finally acknowledged that paradise can exist beyond the garden of Eden on earth–you’re making progress.👍

      4. Hades is the world of the dead, the realm of death…Life himself entered there and set the spirits in prison free. He led captivity captive. ( Ephe 4) Yes it is yet to be fulfilled but St Paul tell us where it is now. In heaven.

      5. DNJohn wrote:
        “Life himself entered there and set the spirits in prison free. He led captivity captive. ( Ephe 4)”

        Response: Except there is no evidence to be found in scripture for this interpretation! Instead of going to the easy and clear passages first, I find many false doctrines are often built on difficult and obscure verse like this! It makes it easier for them to then twist other passages to suit their own particular theology. I think at this stage I’ve made it abundantly clear that this cannot be the proper interpretation of this verse, and that you are making that same mistake!

      6. It is really not difficult. The Apostolic teaching is clear and straightforward. The apostles were not being enigmatic in their teaching. It was prophesied and foreshadowed in the old testament too. God was going to ranson them from sheol and death and not change his mind!

        Hosea 13:14
        Jubilee Bible 2000
        14 I will ransom them from the power of Sheol; I will redeem them from death; O death, I will be thy end; O Sheol, I will be thy destruction. Repentance shall be hid from my eyes.

        Hebrews 2
        Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same, that through death he might destroy him that had the empire of death, that is, the devil,

        15 and deliver those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to slavery.

      7. DNJohn wrote: The Apostolic teaching is clear and straightforward.

        Response: Not always–“as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures (2 Pet. 3:15,16).

        DNJohn wrote: “It was prophesied and foreshadowed in the old testament too. God was going to ranson them from sheol and death and not change his mind!”

        My Response: Hosea 13:14 ASV
        I will ransom them from the power of Sheol; I will redeem them from death: O death, where are thy plagues? O Sheol, where is thy destruction? repentance shall be hid from mine eyes.

        This verse has an immediate context regarding Ephraim (Israel), the doomed nation who were to go into captivity, and yet God would redeem them; He would deliver them from their captivity. Hosea looks not to Christ’s resurrection, or to ours, but to the restoration of the people. This the prophet saw clearly, that He would redeem her, the unfaithful wife, and make her once more His own. Although it would only be a faithful few that would return, God truly accomplished this redemption under the Messiah. However, the ultimate and true significance of death’s destruction and Sheol’s defeat was not made clear until Christ’s resurrection, and THE COMPLETE DEFEAT OF DEATH will be consummated in our own resurrection from the grave (1 Cor. 15:54,55).

        1 Corinthians 15:54,55 NASB
        But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP in victory.

        “O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR VICTORY? O DEATH, WHERE IS YOUR STING?”

      8. Hi Aidan,,

        Yes but his victory started right there is Sheol. As he has already destroyed death according to St Paul’s letter to Timothy. He already has the Keys of Hades and death. This means he must have destroyed him who had the power of death, the devil and set those in bondage free. The passage in corinthians is about physical death. I am talking about spiritual bondage in hades.

        That is what St Peter and Paul are talking about in their epistles but you want everything to continue business as usual when Jesus died and descended into hades…and continue unchanged till Jesus destroys physical death at the Resurrection of the body.

        No he already defeated Satan and already destroyed death and took captivity captive! This is what the Church has always proclaimed with exultation and joy.

        Paul says he already destroyed death. It is physical death that is last to be destroyed, but hades/sheol is already devastated. You have not accepted the truth that Christ already destroyed death.

        If we die, we now have a place in heaven, house made without hands and eternal. We have it now according to St Paul. SEE 2 Corinthians 5. To be absent from the body is to be at home with the Lord. Therefore the liberation from hades has happened for those who believed in him.

        Your inference about paradise being in hades is a mistake because you are looking at Christ from a mere human point of view. He was Divine and in heaven, and at the same time, in his Divinized human soul, he descended into hades and set man free.

        This theory you express is contrary to what the Church has always believed and taught with certainty.

      9. Aidan,

        There are many examples of persons showing deep respect or honor to others in the Bible and it is not seen as Divine service or adoration or even if the veneration is given to a holy object i.e like David dancing before the Holy Ark of God is veneration and the Israelites dancing before the Golden Calf is idolatry. Both were dancing before an image but differently. God blessed the house of Obededom because of the presense of the Ark, an image, in his house!

        Veneration is for the created; it is only a relative honor. The Apostle says: “honor all men”. How much more the holy ones of God!

        2 Chronicles 32:33. Hezekiah was given honor after his death

        1 Chronicles 29:20: they paid homage to the King

        Joshua 5:13-25. Joshua venerated the angel, the commander of the Lord’s army.

        Numbers 22:31 Balaam bowed his head and fell on his face before the angel of the Lord.

        Joshua 7″6-7. Joshua fell on the earth, on his face before the ark of the Lord.

        1 Chronicles 16:1-4. Sacrifices offered before the Ark

        Exodus 33:10. People of Israel worshipped at the sight of the pillar of cloud each day.

        Daniel 2 :46-48 King Nebucanezzar offered relative honor to Daniel with incense.
        ” Then King Nebucanezzar fell upon his face and did homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him. The king said to Daniel, Truly your God is God of Gods and Lord of Kings and a revealer of mysteries , for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” Then the King gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts”.

        There is no command in the New Testament against images. The Apostle give lists of the commandments of the new Law but not that one. Idolatry is forbidden but no word about images. These were two distinct commandments in the Decalogue. The prohibitions against idolatry are eternal, but against images is temporal as there is nothing inherently evil about images. Basically, it is not part of the New Law of Christ to forbid icon veneration.

        I have clearly expressed the difference between relative veneration (called dulia or hyperdulia )and absolute worship called (Latria/adoration) . I have given scriptural examples showing that they are not the same. One can argue semantics ( e.g someone uses the word ” veneration” in the definition) against the commands of the New Testament against arguing about words, if you want , but the distinction remains and we are not idolaters.

        The tradition of icons actually upholds the word of God i.e the teaching of the Holy Incarnation of the Divine Word of God, Jesus Christ and that our bodies are sanctuaries of the Holy Spirit. Being against icons may be a sign of heretical Christology. May it not be so.

        God bless.

      10. DNJohn, you wrote: “There is no command in the New Testament against images. Idolatry is forbidden but no word about images. Basically, it is not part of the New Law of Christ to forbid icon veneration.”

        I see that you are trying to do your best with all these scriptures to try and soothe your conscience, but I’m not buying it. You already made up you mind to do it, and then went to find some scriptures to try and justify it! The fact is, both the old Testament and New Testament DO FORBID, graven images(idols). And besides, don’t you know that the Silence of Scripture is prohibitive not permissive? If there is no word about the use of images in worship, as you say, then it IS forbidden – because it is not authorized in scripture. Paul said, “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name[i.e. by the authority] of the Lord Jesus (Col. 3:17).

        (A). Old Testament:

        Exodus 20:4
        “You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;”

        Leviticus 26:1
        ‘You shall not make idols for yourselves;
        neither a carved image nor a sacred pillar shall you rear up for yourselves;
        nor shall you set up an engraved stone in your land, to bow down to it;
        for I am the LORD your God.”

        Psalms 115:4-9
        4 Their idols[carved images of religious icons] are silver and gold,
        The work of man’s hands.
        5 They have mouths, but they cannot speak;
        They have eyes, but they cannot see;
        6 They have ears, but they cannot hear;
        They have noses, but they cannot smell;
        7 They have hands, but they cannot feel;
        They have feet, but they cannot walk;
        They cannot make a sound with their throat.
        8 Those who make them will become like them,
        Everyone who TRUSTS in them.

        9 O Israel, trust in the Lord;
        He is their help and their shield.

        (B). New Testament:

        Acts 7:43
        You also took up the tabernacle of Moloch,
        And the star of your god Remphan,
        Images which you made to worship;
        And I will carry you away beyond Babylon.’

        Acts 17: 22-31
        22 So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For while I was passing through and examining the OBJECTS of your worship, I also found an ALTAR [idol] with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you.

        Thayer: on verse 23– “whatever is religiously honoured, an object of worship of temples, altars, statues, idolatrous images etc.”

        24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, DOES NOT DWELL IN TEMPLES MADE WITH HANDS; 25 NOR IS HE SERVED BY HUMAN HANDS, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things;

        29 Therefore,..WE OUGHT NOT TO THINK THAT THE DIVINE NATURE IS LIKE GOLD, OR SILVER, OR STONE, AN IMAGE FORMED BY THE ART AND THOUGHT OF MAN.

        30 Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, GOD IS NOW DECLARING TO MEN THAT ALL EVERYWHERE SHOULD REPENT.

        And that’s what you are being called to do; to repent by turning from these idols to serve the living and true God!

      11. Your passage from Mars Hill has nothing to do with the worship of Christ’s body, the church. You are pulling things out of context. The church has nothing to do with idols. Like I said, you are basically denying the incarnation. Jesus is the Eikon of the invisible God. To worship him is to worship God embodied in visible form. Images were commanded to be carved in the temple which I have shown. I also showed you a clear difference between veneration( dulia) and Divine Service( Latria) but you want to hold on to polemics. There is no law against images( 2nd commandment) in the New testament. Just like there is no law commanding the 7th day sabbath and dietary rules and animal sacrifices. These have been fulfilled. The old law is set aside as legislation and we have the Word of God incarnate…his commandments and that of his apostles, to which he gave his authority,, as our Law. The old law is not destroyed, it is fulfilled and it bears witness to Christ but it is not something we are under as Law. You have no case. All you have is false witness and polemics.

        I worship only the one God in Trinity. The Trinity in unity and the unity in Trinity. I believe that the Divine Son of God, who is God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God became flesh, became fully man and depictable like any other real man. We are not docetists. This approach you have taken is wrong as it goes back under the old law, ignores the Incarnation, and acts like the truth is docetism rather than the Incarnational Theology of Christ’s Church. There is only One God. The One God get exclusive divine Service and adoration. We do not give this adoration to any created thing or person.

        God bless.

      12. How ridiculous to suggest that I am denying the incarnation of Christ and practicing docetism, all because I’m not doing that which is forbidden in the New Testament. And even if I hadn’t presented you NT scriptures that forbid such idolatry, which I did; you could not practice iconography without having New Testament authority for such. You say there is no law in the NT against images just as there is no law commanding the 7th day sabbath? If this is true, then we have just about as much authority for images as we do for keeping the sabbath under the New Covenant. Even the Hebrew writer shows that the silence of scripture prohibits us from acting without scriptural authority. In Heb. 7:14, he indicates that one of the reasons why Jesus could not be a priest under the law, was because He was from a tribe of which Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. This is an argument being made from the silence of the scriptures, that where the scriptures are silent on a matter, rather than authorize, they PROHIBIT. This is why no one could be a priest from the tribe of Judah, because it was a tribe of which Moses SPOKE NOTHING concerning priesthood. Therefore, if the New Testament SPOKE NOTHING concerning images, the church has no authority to authorize their use.

      13. First, the NT is not silent about images because Jesus himself is the image. And he was adored in the flesh.. a prime example is the woman who was kissing his feet,
        weeping,and wiping the tears with her hair. That is very tangible devotion toward an image of God, a living image/icon.

        Secondly your passage from Acts 17:29, the word is not image ( eikon) , it is graven thing ( greek: charagma) as in assuming the Divine Nature is like a graven thing of stone, gold etc. Dont think the Divine Nature is like a sculpture. Which we do not assume the Divine Nature is like any created thing whatsoever …which i did explain in another post. That passage does not forbid icons as used by the Church. The very next verse called Jesus “the Man” appointed as Judge, something very depictable.

        But you continue to keep bearing false witness for polemical reasons…saying we are idolaters.

        What I meant was that it is as though you are a docetist. Because you worship as though God never became tangible and visible…as if he is just an invisible spirit to contemplate with the mind and offer vocal prayers to..

        To clarify, I do not believe you are literally a docetist…I know you profess that the word was made flesh… but your practice is more consistent with docetism and the Old Law than with Incarnational Theology of the NT.

        Jesus was receiving tangible worship to his Divine Person by the means of his Flesh being venerated with kisses and tears, which flesh was the visible image of God and he called it a good work… and commended her for that. That is positive authorization.

        The veneration given to the image is given to the person depicted just like the veneration given to Christ’s flesh by this woman in the gospel is received by Christ himself…she was not considered an idolater or a flesh worshiper. Likewise I do not worship wood or paint when I venerate an icon but I am honoring the person intended to be depicted thereby. It is like a window to heaven, so to speak. It is a means to honor the person. It is not a worship of matter or anything like that. You have it misconstrued. I do not think that the Divine Nature is like wood, stone, gold, graven by man.

        The Divine Essense/ Nature cannot be depicted at all! Your verse chosen does not apply to Icon veneration in the least…another instance of taking things out of context. We agree with saint Paul’s words 100 percent.

      14. DNJohn wrote:
        First, the NT is not silent about images because Jesus himself is the image. And he was adored in the flesh.. a prime example is the woman who was kissing his feet,
        weeping,and wiping the tears with her hair. That is very tangible devotion toward an image of God, a living image/icon.

        My Response:
        That’s what I’ve been saying all along that the NT is not silent about images (Acts 17; 1 Thess 1:9; 1 Jn. 5:21). And, if Jesus is the very image of God, and the fullness of the Godhead, then why the need for graven images? We are complete in Him.

        DNJohn wrote:
        Secondly your passage from Acts 17:29, the word is not image ( eikon) , it is graven thing ( greek: charagma) as in assuming the Divine Nature is like a graven thing of stone, gold etc. Dont think the Divine Nature is like a sculpture. Which we do not assume the Divine Nature is like any created thing whatsoever …which i did explain in another post. That passage does not forbid icons as used by the Church. The very next verse called Jesus “the Man” appointed as Judge, something very depictable.

        But you continue to keep bearing false witness for polemical reasons…saying we are idolaters.

        My Response:
        Thayer says the greek word (charagma) in Acts 17: “thing carved, sculpture, graven work: of idolatrous images, Acts 17:29.”

        Also, I used verse 16 for (eidelon) not verse 29 as you well know! “Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him when he saw that the city was given over to idols” (Acts 17:16). Obviously that involved everything he saw, including their “altar” to the unknown God (v.23). It included ALL their (charagma) -carved, sculpture, graven work – idolatrous images (Acts 17:29). And then they were told to repent of this idolatry in the verses immediately following. I suppose if you were there, you would have told Paul that he was bearing false witness for polemical reasons – saying that we are idolaters!

        I beg to differ, you are the one taking things out of context, not me.

        DNJohn wrote: “Your practice is more consistent with docetism and the Old Law than with Incarnational Theology of the NT.”

        My Response: I had to smile when I saw this statement, because apart from the images/icons, your whole system of religion is much more consistent with the system of the Old Law than anything else I could think of. I mean your buildings themselves seem to be sacred places of worship, with a Sanctuary, and an Altar, and a Holy of holies. And seemingly the women are not allowed to go into the sanctuary? I couldn’t think of anything more that would be a throwback to the Old Testament and the Temple etc.. Your whole system is all wrong!

        DNJohn wrote: “I do not worship wood or paint when I venerate an icon but I am honoring the person intended to be depicted thereby. It is like a window to heaven, so to speak. It is a means to honor the person. It is not a worship of matter or anything like that. You have it misconstrued. I do not think that the Divine Nature is like wood, stone, gold, graven by man.”

        My Response: You are not honoring Christ when you try to venerate Him through wood and paint and graven images. He has not commanded you to do such a thing. We honor Christ when we do only what He has commanded or authorized for us to do! When we worship and venerate Him only in the way He has prescribed – then we honor Him. These icons are NOT a window to heaven – but Christ Himself is. You don’t need these graven images, all you need is Christ, faith in Him. Since we walk by faith, not by sight – let us also worship and serve Him by faith, not by sight. I would plead with you, today, to repent by striving to do – no more, or no less – than what the Lord has commanded; for that is how we will please Him!

      15. The Church is the fulfillment and continuation of Israel not it destruction. I would expect to see such signs of continuity in the true Church. We also see these very things in the worship of heaven…so it is not just the old law.

        Why no vestments in your services when there are vestments used in heaven? Why no altar when there is an altar in heaven? Why do your churches not use incense in worship as it is prophesied for the Church in Malachi 3:11and also offered in heaven as seen in the book of revelation. Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven, right? Evidently, you are separated from the worship of heaven and have no Communion with them. That is why you deny the Communion of saints and believe the church on earth is separated from the church in heaven as if Christ can be divided. Worse you deny that the church is even in heaven contradicting Hebrews 12 :22-24 and Ephesians 3:15 . You church is also separate from true Israel as you manifest zero continuity with the Israel of God.

      16. The prophecy of Malachi. 1:11 looks to that time when, under the Messiah, not in any one locality, but from one end of the earth to the other, God’s name would be great among Gentiles. The “incense” offered are the prayers of the saints i.e., Christians (Rev. 5:8). Through the gospel of the Messiah God’s name would be reverenced as great. Symbolic language, not literal incense in spiritual kingdom with spiritual sacrifices e.g (Heb. 13:15-16) and prayers as incense (Rev. 5:8).

      17. Aiden, It Malachi it is literal. Malachi is not using apocalyptic language.The pure offering of the Church is the Eucharist. Yes it is the universal Church, not limited to one locale. Every place the true church is, incense is offered in worship. There is no reason contextually in Malachi to say it is symbolic.

        The offering of incense is a type of prayerful act offered by God’s people….so in terms of simile, one could say incense is the prayers of saints…

        Revelation 5 it is that the Living Creatures and the 24 elders offering incense as the prayers of the saints to adore the Lamb of God ,singing their beautiful canticle about redemption and the Kingdom. Offering incense is prayer.

        Notice that the Angel offers incense WITH the prayers of the saints. There is a distinction made, which shows the error of the interpretation you present. Read the passage below carefully.

        Revelation 8:2,3 NASB77
        “And another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a golden censer; and much incense was given to him, that he might ADD IT TO THE PRAYERS OF ALL THE SAINTS UPON THE GOLDEN ALTAR which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense , WITH THE PRAYERS OF THE SAINTS, went up before God out of the angels hand.”

        A great picture of heavenly intercession. How is this possible. It is through Jesus Christ. We cannot explain other than that…in Him.

        It does not say the reverse…i.e that the prayers of the saints is incense, which is what you are expressing.

        God bless.

      18. DNJohn you wrote:
        “It does not say the reverse…i.e that the prayers of the saints is incense, which is what you are expressing.”

        My Response: I’m not interpreting, I’m simply quoting what the verse says -In Rev. 5:8 we have a combination of ‘praise’ (harps, as in Psa.150), and ‘prayer’ (incense as in Psa. 141:2).

        Revelation 5:8–“Now when He had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each having a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which ARE the prayers of the saints.”

        Psalms 141:2–“Let my prayer be set before You as incense, the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice.”
        Psalms 150–“Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet; Praise Him with the lute and harp!”

        Again, in Rev. 5:8: this is a special vision of SYMBOLS, figurative language based upon Old Testament conditions–NOT New Testament worship by Christians. This VISION should not be regarded as evidence of physical incense or harps in heaven; it shows worship and honor to Jesus Christ, the Lamb.

        Any interpretation that tries to negate the plain statement of Rev. 5:8 is erroneous, and therefore must be rejected.

      19. The 24 elders were offering up the prayers of the saints,as it were incense and the angels in chapter 8 were offering incense with the prayers of the saints…so any interpretation that denies the heavenly intercessions of the saints, as obviously presented, in scripture is in error.

        Yes, I do not deny that the psalm is poetic language about our prayers being set forth in thy sight as incense i.e let our prayers be a sweet smelling savor as the offering of incense is. That Psalm is chanted during the censing of the Church when we have the vespers service. It is quite beautiful. Incense has symbolic meaning…that is why it is used…but to spiritualize it away is wrong, as the Church has always offered it in worship and prayer in every place she has been established, thus fulfilling Malachi 1:11.

        You can be in denial if you want but Revelation 5 and Revelation 8 destroys your argument of no heavenly intercession…the joining of heaven with our prayers…we may not understand how something happens but that does not negate that it does. Revelation gives us a picture of it in vivid imagery.

        God bless.

      20. DNJohn wrote: “Incense has symbolic meaning”

        Response: That’s right, it symbolizes prayer in Rev. 5:8! That’s what the verse says, “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” I’m not the one interpreting it, I’m just quoting it – but you are twisting it to suit your man made tradition! However you might interpret Rev. 8, if it contradicts Rev. 5:8, and it certainly does, then that interpretation, no matter how clever, is truly anathema! To literalize these passages as you do is a fatal error. And Rev. 8 mentions nothing about these saints being in heaven as you have imagined. We need to be very careful with Revelation, it is full of symbolic and figurative language.

      21. Aidan, Revelation 8 shows that John was using simile, not symbolism is Revelation 5. See for yourself that in Revelation 8, The incense was offered WITH the prayers of the saints. So this proves they are not to be identified in a “this stands for that” kind of way.

      22. Sorry, DNJohn, Rev.8 is not simile, but employs symbolic language just like Rev.5. Whatever the explanation, it cannot negate what Rev.5 says. And, it’s not literal incense and harps in heaven.

      23. Aidan,

        Heavenly Intercession is there, plain to see, offered by holy men and angels…both the prayers of the saints are offered by the 24 Elders and the Angel is offering incense as an accompaniment to prayer i.e with the prayers…proving you are wrong in your assertion that incense =the prayers, “this standing for that” cannot have been the intention of the Apostle John i.e to make a definitive principle that all mention of incense in worship is symbolical…you have gone ” beyond what is written” in the apocalypse by asserting that and then applied it rashly to Malachi 1:11.

        Conclusion: There is incense in heavenly worship. and therefore there is incense in the worship of the True Church. The earthly church united in worship with the heavenly Church, the heavenly Jerusalem, which we have now come to ( Hebrews 12 :22 ff) and which will later be renewed in the world to come.

        The text presents it that way…so your reading of chapter 5, even IF it was correct in Revelation 5:8 that it was symbolic of the prayers of the saints which were being offered up by them, cannot be a universal maxim, since it is quickly broken in chapter 8 when incense is offered “WITH” the prayers of the saints by the angel.

        More important to our discussion is the heavenly intercessions shown so clearly in chapters 5 and 8, that one who have to just be blatantly biased not to accept. The Holy ones in heaven( 24 elders) offering up the prayers of the holy ones on earth to the Lord Jesus Christ as partners in prayer and the angel offering incense with those prayers. Beautiful imagery of the communion of saints.

        DnJohn

      24. Aidan,

        the incarnation unites matter and spirit, earth and heaven…and your religion seems to present a dualism between spiritual and material, which seems quite gnostic. Perhaps I am misreading you, though…it is just the impression that I get from all of your, ” its spiritual” posts. In your view, it seems( but I may be wrong) that everything of God becomes completely spiritualized which to the dualistic person means dematerialized. If I have misread your approach, please correct me.

        In orthodoxy, the material itself becomes spiritualized as Jesus redeemed and sanctified matter itself. The mortal puts on immortality in the resurrection and the perishable puts on imperishability/ incorruptibility.

        Because of the incarnation, the Church is sacramental seeing material things can be means of conferring invisible grace. Jesus unites heaven and earth as the Incarnate word. So he can say, Behold I make all things new. He is not making new things but renewing what he had already made.

        Jesus illustrated this sacramental incarnarional principle by using matter to confer grace.. he used dirt and spittle to heal the eyes of the blind or perhaps he was creating eyes for them in their sockets.. He had lepers wash in the pool of siloam. He spit in the ear of the deaf to heal their deaf ears. His garment healed the woman with the issue of blood…the handkerchief of Peter healed the sick.

        And then we have the seven major sacraments( there are more), which is another topic.

        The incarnation of the Divine and Eternal Word of God changes everything.

      25. You have spiritualized the kingdom too much. Sure it is not of this world. It is the world to come after history. On that we agree.But please show me in scripture where it is spiritualized like you always present it. There will be a new earth. This earth will be made new. It will be tangible. It is like you believe matter will be no more in the New creation. Matter is good. God declared it good. Jesus assumed matter into his Divine person in the incarnation, sanctifying matter…redeeming all of creation. Correct me if I am missing something. Is that your believe that the kingdom will be wholly immaterial, i.e spiritual?

      26. We do not depict the Divine Nature or think that is like any resemblance. We do not depict God the Father as he was never Incarnate. We do not attribute deity to any created thing. Your charges are baseless and a misuse of scripture that refers to something else entirely. Straw men.

      27. DNJohn, yes you do depict Deity! You depict Jesus who is part of the Godhead (Acts 17:29). That is a fact not a strawman!

      28. Aidan, The Divine Essense/Nature cannot be depicted. We depict Jesus in his human nature through which his divine Energies shone. But the divine nature is not depicted as it cannot be reduced to anything material. We agree with the Apostle Paul that the Divine Nature cannot be depicted in the form of created things.

        You seem to not be aware of some important distinctions.. There is a distinction between the Divine Essense/nature and the Divine Energies .There is also a distinction between nature and person..created and uncreated..

        Jesus is a Divine person who assumed human nature for our salvation and his human nature is interpenetrated with his divine energies. You see this on the mount of transfiguration. That is what is depicted. So yes it is a strawman argument.

      29. DNJohn wrote: “The Divine Essense/Nature cannot be depicted. We depict Jesus in his human nature through which his divine Energies shone. But the divine nature is not depicted as it cannot be reduced to anything material. We agree with the Apostle Paul that the Divine Nature cannot be depicted in the form of created things.”

        My Response: Nonsense! Can you imagine Aaron with the golden calf telling Moses in front of the people: “We were not trying to depict the Divine nature here, oh no, but we were simply trying to depict His Divine energies. We agree with you Moses, God cannot be reduced to anything material, certainly not in the form of created things. This graven image is just meant to capture His Divine energies, that’s all. I have to say, even though Aaron did come up with a funny excuse, this one would have topped it, that’s for sure!

        I agree, the Divine cannot be reduced or depicted in graven images, which is what I’ve been telling you all along, but this is even worse, because now you have the people humbly kneeling before a depiction of ‘human nature’? Somehow I doubt if that’s the way the common folk are thinking. But that seems more like creature worship, especially when it comes to Mary and the saints. Do you think people in the Catholic Church see themselves as worshiping idols? No they don’t, even though they kneel before and even kiss these images while making supplication through them. But that’s exactly what you ALL are doing! You can keep making all the excuses in the world, but the fact is, we are forbidden to even make such graven images in the first place – yet, in spite of that, you have made them for your places of worship.

        Vine says- “In Act 17:29 it is used as a noun with the definite article, to denote “the Godhead,” the Deity (i.e., the one true God). This word, instead of theos, was purposely used by the Apostle in speaking to Greeks on Mars Hill, as in accordance with Greek usage.” It was a general name of deities or divinities as used by the Greeks. Here it would seem to signify “God” in an impersonal sense. Paul focuses attention upon that quality of “the divine” which distinguishes God from all else. He tells them that it is inconceivable that ‘the Deity’ should be represented by the artistic talents of men, “something shaped by art and man’s devising.”

        Again, no one should be trying to make images of Jesus, Mary, or the saints, and then put them into a religious setting to either kneel, kiss, or pray before them, so that they can intercede on your behalf. That’s not mere veneration, that’s idolatrous.

      30. Thayer is an uninspired man giving his biased opinion. The Godhead i.e the Divinity cannot be depicted. Only the human form of Christ who is the image of God. Showing reverence to members of the family of God and to Christ through the use of icons is not Divine Service but rather a relative honor than is referred to the persons depicted and affirms the Divine Incarnation.

      31. So also are the Church fathers uninspired men giving biased opinions. What matters is that Thayer, who is a greek scholar, is saying precisely what the context reveals in Acts 17. And what about v.16, is that incorrect too? Show me a verse in the Bible where you are commanded to make images that you can either bow to, kneel to, kiss, or make supplications through?

      32. Show me a verse that says I must have a verse commanding something first.

        You use the example in Hebrews but that does not apply as he is referring to Levititicus which gives the instructions for the priesthood of Aaron. So silence about no Judahite priests in significant because Jesus has a different kind of priesthood…a greater one…an eternal one….one that supercedes the priesthood of Aaron altogether so his priesthood is valid even though he is from the tribe of Judah.

        Show me a verse that says a NT book is an encyclopedic manual of what is allowed. Show me a verse that even tells me what books are in the Bible. Where is the inspired table of contents?

        You mentioned earlier our completion in Christ…

        We are complete in him and the saints are in him. We are members of Christ and members of one another. This magnifies that truth.

        Your doctrine obscures it as it behaves as those God never became incarnate and it acts as though Jesus never destroyed death on the cross and took captivity captive. You still have the Christian departed bound in some part of hades as if Jesus never defeated death and removed the curse of the Fall. Your doctrine is as though he had done that .

        I showed you that abolishing of death in Paul’s letter to Timothy…Yet you want to make out as though death separates spiritually the members of his Body.

        Is Christ divided?

        You had pushed that victory over death entirely to the bodily ressurection when he destroys death completely by ending physical death through the universal resurrection. This diminished gospel of yours is why you cannot fathom the truth of the communion of saints and the implications of the Divine Incarnation of the Word of God and all things proceed apparentlybasbif the incarnation never occurred and the old law is still over us.

        Secondly, What the Church as the Body of Christ, always united with the Head Jesus Christ, has bound on earth is bound in heaven. Whatever the Church looses on earth is loosed in heaven as our Lord specifically says in the Gospel of Matthew.. so your argument about the scripture having to specifically command one to do something, as if the apostles wrote every single thing down, for it to be allowed is erroneous. It is making the NT letters more that what they were intended for.

        Paul says he handed on the Faith by word of mouth and by letter…2 Thes 2:15 and Jesus over the course of 40 days instructed his disciples about the Kingdom of God.( Acts 1). Where are the minutes of those meetings? He gave them instructions about the Kingdom and they passed those along when they founded churches by letters when issues arose and by word of mouth when present.

        The NT letters were written to address certain issues that came up in those historical churches. It is not a encyclopedic manuel of all that can be done. We use Scripture and Apostolic tradition to know what can be done, not scripture alone. To use scripture alone without the historic tradition of the original church, you are following traditions too but they are traditions and commandments of men instead. You are replacing the Church guided by God with yourself as a private interpreter, subject to none. The Scriptures are to be interpreted in accordance with the Faith in which it was given and within the Apostolic Church that canonized it.

        Where is the list of sacred books in the Bible?

        Which came first, Aidan, the Church or the New Testament?

        With your Solo scriptura notion you have circumscribed all truth needed for the Church to be contained in the Bible. Yes, Everything in the Bible is instructive, true and inspired and useful that the man of God may be perfect,, furnished unto all good works. That is teaching the necessity of scripture and its usefulness not its comprehensiveness. Not everything true is in the Bible verbatim though holy tradition supports what is taught in the scripture.

        If everything Jesus did was recorded the world could not contain the books, the Apostle John writes.

        To know what was given to the Apostles and handed on in the churches they founded, you see what all of those historical Apostolic churches have had in common since the beginning and have held with consensus. I can tell you your doctrine on these things and your deincarnated services with no Icons and no sacraments could not be any more starkly in contrast with original Christian practice.

        God guides his church and she has consistently since the apostles been venerating icons as affirmation of the truth of the incarnation and to teach in visible depiction the truths of the Faith and as manifestation of the communion of saints…the heavenly church united with the earthly church and the indivisible union we share in Christ.

        The biblical as well as the historical and archeological evidence is there to study to see what was enjoined on the apostolic churches to do. You ignore the latter completely.

        The church as I reiterated makes the biblical distinction between worship in the absolute sense and the relative honor. We believe in the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, One God.

        ST. LUKE is known to have made three icons of our Lord God Jesus Christ and his Holy mother. Jesus himself made an image of his face on the napkin of St Veronica., miraculously, when she wiped his face on the way to Calvary. This has been handed on through Holy tradition.

        You can be incredulous if you want to. But the Church does not practice idolatry. We condemn idolatry as grave sin. We also condemn bearing false witness, which is what you are doing when you call us idolaters.

      33. DNJohn wrote: “Show me a verse that says I must have a verse commanding something first.”

        Response:
        (1). We are only authorized to teach and observe what Jesus has commanded:
        Matt. 28:19-20: –“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

        (2). We are to reject the commandments of men and keep only the commandment of God.
        Mark 7:7-8: –“And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men..”

        (3). We are not to do anything unless it has been authorized by Christ. ‘In the name” means by His authority.
        Col. 3:17 –“And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.”

        (4). We are not to go beyond what is written.
        1 Cor. 4:6 –“Now these things, brethren, I have figuratively transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes, that you may learn in us not to think beyond what is written,.”

        (5). If we love Him, we will gladly seek out His commandments to do them.
        John 14:15 –“If you love Me, keep My commandments.”
        John 14:23 –“If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word”
        Jonn 14:24 –“He who does not love Me does not keep My words”

        (6). We are not to add to His word, or take away from it.
        Deut. 4:2 –“You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”
        Prov. 30:5-6 –“Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.”
        Rev. 22:18-19 –“For I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book; and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

        (7). We are not authorized to speak anything except the word of God.
        1 Pet. 4:11 –“If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God..”

        To understand these passages of scriptures is to understand that one must always look for book, chapter, and verse, for all that he believes, practices, and teaches, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! So yes, we must have a verse authorizing something first!

      34. Aidan,

        St.John said, “I have much to write to you, but I do not wish to write with pen and ink. Instead, I hope to see you soon when we can talk face to face” (3 John 13). Not everything was written down so your interpretation of , not going “beyond what is written” is wrongly generalized. Unless the context of what he was specifically referring to is icons, your argument falls flat.

        In the context of 1 corinthians 4…he is taken about picking one minister over another, showing a kind of favoritism and pride in personalities..Paul says to not go beyond what is written in that regard. He had told them earlier in the epistle,, not to say I am of Paul or I am of Apolos etc..

        You have pulled the verse out of context of the epistle to prove solo scriptura. Not even the “reformers” did that with this verse, knowing it was not handling the word rightly to do so. See the context for yourself.

        Look at the passage in a fuller context
        1 Corinthians 3:00-4:6
        Revised Standard Version
        On Divisions in the Corinthian Church
        3 But I, brethren, could not address you as spiritual men, but as men of the flesh, as babes in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food; for you were not ready for it; and even yet you are not ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh, and behaving like ordinary men? 4 For when one says, “I belong to Paul,” and another, “I belong to Apol′los,” are you not merely men?

        5 What then is Apol′los? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apol′los watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.

        10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and another man is building upon it. Let each man take care how he builds upon it. 11 For no other foundation can any one lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if any one builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each man’s work will become manifest; for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work which any man has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If any man’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

        16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you? 17 If any one destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and that temple you are.

        18 Let no one deceive himself. If any one among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.” 21 So let no one boast of men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apol′los or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future, all are yours; 23 and you are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.

        The Ministry of the Apostles
        4 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2 Moreover it is required of stewards that they be found trustworthy. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. I do not even judge myself. 4 I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. 5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God.

        6 I have applied all this to myself and Apol′los for your benefit, brethren, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.
        —————————

        What he says about not going beyond what is written is referring to the context of what he just wrote in the epistle, as you can easily see. It was not a discussion at all about icons, or a lesson to teach solo scriptura. So again you pull scripture out of context.

      35. The Context is Mars Hill pagans and what they were doing when they created their idols and worshipped their idols and how that is not how the Divinity is. He was teaching that God cannot be contained within creation but is instead outside of it and the creator of it. He does not deny that Christ is The Man, and thus depictable as he himself calls him the Man appointed by God as Judge.The two truths are not mutually exclusive. You are making false equivocations and just looking for anything about idolatry in the Bible and trying to make it fit as an attack on the Church. We do not believe what the pagans believed or do what the pagans were doing with their idolatry. Again…bearing false witness for polemics.

      36. The reference in Malachi that I referring to was Malachi 1:11( not 3:11) ESV. Sorry for the typo.

        For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the Lord of hosts.

      37. Aidan, to clarify further…Our images are of Christ and our fellow brothers and sisters in the Lord., who shone with the Light of Christ and are the great cloud of witnesses surrounding us. These are not worshipped as gods or goddesses like pagans but honored as vessels of the Lord. Many of whom were martyrs for Christ. I would have a bothered conscience if I did not venerate them and ask their intercessory prayers to the Lord Jesus. You are greatly mistaken about what our practices mean, so I am glad to clarify.

        God bless.

      38. DNJohn, your images of Christ and created beings in a religious setting are strictly forbidden throughout Scripture — you are fooling yourself if you think otherwise!

        And there is only one mediator and intercessor between us and God, namely, Christ! No one else has a right to be another intercessor for us. And what makes you think that these so called saints can even hear you? It is very presumptuous to think that they can, let alone be even allowed to hear and intercede. How do you even know where they are gone? They could have had some secret sin that no one was aware of except God. Did the people in the OT pray to Moses after he had gone? NO! And, is Jesus not able to hear our prayers? He is Deity, He is the only one able to hear all the millions and millions of prayers and He is the only one able to do anything about it! We don’t NEED anyone else in between Him and us.

        Also, He is now our High Priest. And as High Priest He is the only one who can mediate for the people. And no one can take this honor unto himself, not even Jesus glorified Himself to become our High Priest. All these saints and Mary making intersessions for you, is all in you own imagination. There is absolutely no authority for it in Scripture!

        Hebrews 4:14-16 NKJV
        Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

        Notice what it says: let US(not somebody else for us) come before the throne of grace.

        Hebrews 5:4-6 NKJV
        And no man takes this honor to himself, but he who is called by God, just as Aaron was. So also Christ did not glorify Himself to become High Priest, but it was He who said to Him:

        “You are My Son,
        Today I have begotten You.”

        As He also says in another place:

        “You are a priest forever
        According to the order of Melchizedek”

        You have no basis in Scripture for praying to anyone else but God alone, and no one else has a right to take His honor!

      39. 1 Timothy 2

        1I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men: 2For kings, and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity. 3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: 6Who gave himself a redemption for all, a testimony in due times..

        Notice ,Aidan, in the same paragraph in which the Apostle Paul says Jesus is the one mediator of redemption….he says that intercessions should be made for all men. One who makes intercessions is an intercessor. So we are to be intercessors for one another. You are greatly in error.

        To answer your other question…The saints hear us through Jesus Christ. It is all through him..They are in him…and we are members of one body of Christ. Their is no division in the body of Christ. The living and the departed are not severed but are spiritually one in Christ. Death does not sever that union. We know all this from experience as well. We believe in the communion of saints, as christian have since the beginning.

      40. DNJohn wrote:
        1 Timothy 2
        1I desire therefore, first of all, that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men: 2For kings, and for all that are in high station: that we may lead a quiet and a peaceable life in all piety and chastity. 3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, 4Who will have all men to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 5For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus: 6Who gave himself a redemption for all, a testimony in due times..

        Notice ,Aidan, in the same paragraph in which the Apostle Paul says Jesus is the one mediator of redemption….he says that intercessions should be made for all men. One who makes intercessions is an intercessor. So we are to be intercessors for one another. You are greatly in error.
        To answer your other question…The saints hear us through Jesus Christ. It is all through him..They are in him…and we are members of one body of Christ. Their is no division in the body of Christ. The living and the departed are not severed but are spiritually one in Christ. Death does not sever that union. We know all this from experience as well. We believe in the communion of saints, as christian have since the beginning.

        My response:
        You are taking this passage way out of the context of our discussion about those who pray to Mary and the departed saints to make intercession for them in heaven. The fact that the church is being exhorted to pray for all men has nothing to do with such a discussion, how ridiculous. You are clutching at straws!

        The greek word Paul uses for ‘intercession’ in Timothy is a different word than that used in Romans 8. In Timothy it is specifically used of PRAYER TO GOD, not to the saints or Mary, or any other created being (1 Tim. 2:1; 1 Tim. 4:5). And, the saints do not hear us through Jesus Christ, that is total nonsense! Jesus is the only ‘mediator BETWEEN God and men’ v.5! There is nothing in scripture to support such a ludicrous idea as the departed saints hearing our prayers. The departed ARE severed from this life, period! These things that you are spouting do not come from the word of God. They are not the teachings of the New Testament Church, but rather, a consequence of the apostasy that occurred probably after the 1st century.

      41. Again the Body of Christ cannot be severed by death. We are come to the church of the firstborn…to the spirits of just men made perfect. Hebrews 12. We do not believe the saints are mediators between God and men but are intercessors in the same sense that fellow Christians are intercessors for each other.

      42. Hebrews 12 is just speaking about kind of kingdom we’ve come to (v.28), it says nothing about anybody being able to hear you.

      43. So we have come to the “spirits of just men made perfect” but have zero contact…let’s pretend in practice that we have not come to them just like pretending in practice that God never became incarnate and depictable and pretend that Jesus never abolished death and the departed in Christ are still in some part of the world of the dead instead of being in heaven with Christ. Your tradition of men makes the word of God of no effect.

        You can quote the old Law if you want but hear what the apostle Paul has to say:

        2 Corinthians 3

        1Are we beginning to commend ourselves again? Or do we need, as some do, letters of recommendation to you, or from you? 2You yourselves are our letter of recommendation, written on oura hearts, to be known and read by all. 3And you show that you are a letter from Christ delivered by us, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.

        4Such is the confidence that we have through Christ toward God. 5Not that we are sufficient in ourselves to claim anything as coming from us, but our sufficiency is from God, 6who has made us sufficient to be ministers of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit. For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.

        7Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, 8will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? 9For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. 10Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it. 11For if what was being brought to an end came with glory, much more will what is permanent have glory.

        12Since we have such a hope, we are very bold, 13not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face so that the Israelites might not gaze at the outcome of what was being brought to an end. 14But their minds were hardened. For to this day, when they read the old covenant, that same veil remains unlifted, because only through Christ is it taken away. 15Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. 16But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed. 17Now the Lordd is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.
        ———–‐————–
        The Church is the body of Christ. The members of the body are not paralyzed but all of the body is in vital union with all other parts of the body. I already said it was in and through Jesus Christ that they can hear. We are one in him.

      44. Also,

        1 Thess 1:9
        For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God,

        1 John 5:21
        Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

        Idol(eidolon):
        Vine:- primarily “a phantom or likeness” (from eidos, “an appearance,” lit., “that which is seen”), or “an idea, fancy,”

        Thayer:
        1. an image, likeness

        A. i.e. whatever represents the form of an object, either real or imaginary

        B. used of the shades of the departed, apparitions, spectres, phantoms of the mind, etc.

        2. the image of an heathen god

        3. a false god

        In Exodus 32 the Calf they made was meant to represent their image of Jehovah who brought them up from the land of Egypt, and whom they then worshiped: note vv. 4-5.

        v.1 “Now when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people assembled about Aaron and said to him, “Come, make us a god who will go before us; as for this Moses, the man who brought us up from the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.”
        v.4 He took this from their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool and made it into a molten calf; and they said, “This is your god, O Israel, who brought you up from the land of Egypt.”
        v.5 Now when Aaron saw this, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made a proclamation and said, “Tomorrow shall be a feast to the LORD.”

        Again, (eidolon) Idols, is what Paul was observing in Athens (Acts 17:16) –He then tells them in v.29..“Being then the children of God, we ought not to think that the Divine Nature(the Godhead kjv) is like gold or silver or stone, an IMAGE formed by the art and thought of man.”

        Seems like it IS forbidden in both Testaments, even where it is only meant to be an IMAGE of the true God!

      45. DNJohn, you wrote: “Idols are images but not all images are idols.”

        My response: So what! We are not concerned about secular art.

      46. Aidan, Thanks for sharing those passages. I would like to add one from Deuteronomy in which God expressly says the reason for his prohibition against images under the Old Law. Please read carefully.

        Deuteronomy 4:12-19 RSV
        Then the Lord spoke to you out of the midst of the fire; you heard the sound of words, but saw no form; there was only a voice. 13 And he declared to you his covenant, which he commanded you to perform, that is, the ten commandments;[a] and he wrote them upon two tables of stone. 14 And the Lord commanded me at that time to teach you statutes and ordinances, that you might do them in the land which you are going over to possess.

        15 “Therefore take good heed to yourselves. SINCE YOU SAW NO FORM ON THE DAY THAT THE LORD SPOKE TO YOU AT HOREB out of the midst of the fire, 16 beware lest you act corruptly by making a graven image for yourselves, in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water under the earth. 19 And beware lest you lift up your eyes to heaven, and when you see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, you be drawn away and worship them and serve them, things which the Lord your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.

        ‐———-
        Aidan, the 15th verse says specifically that it was because they saw no form that they were commanded to not make images. That reason has been fulfilled in the Incarnation! JESUS fulfilled this stipulation.

        1. HE IS IN THE FORM OF GOD ( Phil 2)

        2. HE IS THE IMAGE OF GOD ( 2 Cor 4:4)

        3. HE IS THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF THE FATHER ( Heb 1)

        4. WE SEE THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE FACE OF JESUS CHRIST. (2 Cor 4:6)

        5. HE SAID IT WAS BECAUSE THEY SAW NO FORM ON THAT DAY IN HOREB….HE DID NOT SAY THAT THEY WOULD NEVER SEE A FORM. (Images are a seperate commandment from idolatry in the Decalogue. ) THE MOSAIC LAW IS FULFILLED.

        God bless.

      47. DNJohn wrote:
        “Deuteronomy 4:12-19 RSV
        Aidan, the 15th verse says specifically that it was because they saw no form that they were commanded to not make images. That reason has been fulfilled in the Incarnation! JESUS fulfilled this stipulation.
        1. HE IS IN THE FORM OF GOD ( Phil 2)
        2. HE IS THE IMAGE OF GOD ( 2 Cor 4:4)
        3. HE IS THE EXPRESS IMAGE OF THE FATHER ( Heb 1)
        4. WE SEE THE GLORY OF GOD IN THE FACE OF JESUS CHRIST. (2 Cor 4:6)
        5. HE SAID IT WAS BECAUSE THEY SAW NO FORM ON THAT DAY IN HOREB….HE DID NOT SAY THAT THEY WOULD NEVER SEE A FORM. (Images are a seperate commandment from idolatry in the Decalogue. ) THE MOSAIC LAW IS FULFILLED.”

        My Response:
        That verse in Phil 2 is referring to Him being in the form of God prior to His incarnation. Yes, Jesus is the image of God, but the “image” in the NT is not referring to His physical form. And, if Jesus is the express image of the Father and has fulfilled it as you say, then what need is there to make images? All we need to do now is look at Christ by faith, because in Him is all the fullness of the Godhead in bodily form. As He said to Philip, to see Me is to see the Father, and He wasn’t talking about His physical form! And where in the NT did Jesus ever command images to be made of Him? Nowhere! We walk by faith NOT by sight!

        Final point:
        You said, “Images are a seperate commandment from idolatry in the Decalogue.” Not so, (Acts 17; 1 Thess. 1:9; 1 Jn. 5:21).

        Nice try! But your arguments simply don’t stand up when tested by Scripture!

      48. Yes but Jesus never lost his Divinity when he became man and he was adored as God in his human form as he was the image of the invisible God. If you believe he lost the form of God when he assumed the human form, you have christogical problems. He is one person in two natures, Divine and human, united in the hypostatic union. It is the union of his person that unites the natures without separation, division,mixture or confusion.

      49. Of course He was still God when He became flesh! In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. And the word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1,14).
        “The true meaning of morphe in the expression ‘form of God’ is confirmed by its recurrence in the corresponding phrase, ‘form of a servant.’ It is universally admitted that the two phrases are directly antithetical, and that ‘form’ must therefore have the same sense in both.” Hence, prior to His incarnation He existed in the ‘form of God,’ but then “emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being made in the likeness of men;” (Phil 2:7).

      50. Jesus is one person in two natures. We call this the hypostatic union. Because the union of the two natures occurs in his one Divine Person( gr. Hypostasis) and they are united without separation, division, mixture, or confusion..

        In other words, His Eternal, unchanging Divine Nature as the Son/Word of God and the human nature that he assumed for us and for our Salvation. That is the two “forms” of Phillipians 2. He humbled himself in assuming our humanity in order to save/heal us

        Do you agree essentially?

      51. Yes, it was in his resurrection that they were taken from hades with him. He took them. It was not just made clear…it was accomplished on the spiritual side. It will accomplished in terms of the physical side, of the end of physical death when everyone is raised again with their bodies. That is the consummation.

    2. 2 Thess 2:15. That is a false accusation. I can defend Orthodox traditions based on biblical precepts. Your sect has traditions too. Make no mistake. Unless you want to discuss particular traditions, it makes no point to just put that accusation on the Orthodox Church. It is just an unfair attack. Jesus never condemned all tradition. He observed tradition himself.

  12. DNJohn,

    Notice also in the rich man and Lazarus that if one repents in this life he won’t go to the place of torment in Hades. This completely refutes your doctrine that some who repent still go there to hopefully complete their repentance and get to paradise! It is clear from this passage and from many other scriptures, that whoever repents in this life will not go to the place of torment in hades but to paradise.

    Luke 16:27-31
    “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.’ And he said, ‘No, father Abraham; but if one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ But he said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rise from the dead.’ ”

    According to scripture we will be judged by the things we’ve done in the body: 2 Cor. 5:10 “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

    After we die there are no second chances; we will only face judgment after death: Heb. 9:27 “And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.”

    According to Jesus, if we don’t repent now we will perish: Luke 13:3 “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

    And this is why your whole view is wrong!

    1. The parable mixes elements of gehenna and hades and elements of pre and post ressurection situations. It cannot be used in the way you are using it. That was not the point of the story. Dig deeper.

      The righteous never experieced fiery torment in hades. I agree with you there but not for the same reasons.

    2. The judgement after death, the particular judgement is not the eternal judgement when everything is finalized. That occurs at the second coming of Christ at the Last Day.

      2 Corinthians 5 does not support your theory of having to wait at Abraham’s bosom in hades. The passage says that when we die we immediately have a house in heaven. St. Paul compares two habitations…our physical body is the habitation of our souls….its a temporal Tabernacle. When it is dissolved…we have another house eternal in heaven, a building in which our souls will dwell. It is, as it were, a covering for our souls. Jesus himself said he was going to his Father’s house to prepare a place for us. John 14. This happens after death, before the resurrection.

      You quoted 2 Corinthians 5:11 NASB. It says: For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ , that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he had done, whether good or bad.

      This proves my point that a justified believer at the judgement that occurs at death, which is what is referred to in context here, may be required to undergo recompense not just for good deeds but also for bad ones. This may be necessary to prepare one for paradise and the prayers of the Church can help the one who has fallen asleep in the Lord. We are members one of another both those who are living and those who have departed this life. Death does not seperate the members of Christ’s body. The is the truth of the Communion of saints.

      1 Samuel 2:6 The LORD kills , and he gives life; he brings down to Sheol and raises up.

      Job 14:13 O that thou would hide me in Sheol, that thou would keep me covered until thy wrath is past, that thou would appoint me a set time and remember me!

      Psalm 49:15 Surely God will ransom my soul from the hand of Sheol when he shall take me.

  13. DNJohn wrote:
    “And if you offer an interpretation on what something means, I can simply say you are an uninspired man. You just destroyed preaching/teaching tself. Solo scriptura is what you are expressing . Which ironically is not biblical. In the services at your church, they should just read the Bible aloud without comment with no giving of the sense of the passage read, because doing so would open people up to uninspired men.”

    Response: Of course we can teach and preach in our church services (Eph. 4:11; 2 Tim. 2:4; etc..). As long as what we teach and preach is the word of God we are authorized to speak: “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God” (1 Pt. 4:11). But this principle is something which many of your Orthodox traditions have transgressed and fallen under the condemnation of Jesus in Mark 7 where He said..“in vain they worship Me,
    Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, you hold the tradition of men” (Mark 7:7,8). That’s why everything needs to be examined carefully with the scriptures just like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 who were “more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”

  14. DNJohn, you wrote:
    “2 Thess 2:15. That is a false accusation. I can defend Orthodox traditions based on biblical precepts. Your sect has traditions too. Make no mistake. Unless you want to discuss particular traditions, it makes no point to just put that accusation on the Orthodox Church. It is just an unfair attack. Jesus never condemned all tradition. He observed tradition himself.”

    My Response:
    You think it’s an unfair attack, but it is not an attack on you personally, but rather, on your church as a sect, just as you believe mine is a sect and your sister church too. You see the Roman Catholic Church as having left the true faith, and as schismatic and sectarian. You see them as following after man made traditions which are additions to the word of God. Therefore, you see them as falling under the same condemnation of Mark 7 in teaching as doctrines the commandments of men, and of laying aside the commandment of God. But if they hold to the traditions of men as you believe, then you concur with Jesus, who said, in vain they worship God! I bet you don’t think that your judgment of them is unfair – but facts don’t care about feelings. You spent 11 centuries together with your sister church, the Roman Catholic Church, before the split. Therefore, ye are both cut from the same cloth and have similar habits!

    Just like them, your church is teaching as doctrines the commandments of men. Like them you lay aside the commandment of God to hold to the tradition of men –your organizational structure and hierarchy, your worship, your idolatrous practices and teachings etc..Both churches departed from the original NT teachings together long before the split! Tradition itself is not the problem, but rather, the traditions of men, which, despite your protestations to the contrary your church does certainly hold to! So, just like the Pharisees, who I’m sure felt Jesus was being unfair, it is not a false accusation, nor is it an unfair attack on either the Orthodox Church, or the Catholic Church for that matter. Perhaps you might feel it less unfair if you were less concerned about defending your traditions, and a bit more concerned about how those traditions fare against the inspired teachings of the New Testament.

    1. You throw the baby out with the bath water and are trying to reestablish the church by imitation of bits and pieces when the church is an organism, the body of Christ and requires that kind of continuity and communion.

      Restorationism is a 19th century movement of trying to re create something that already exists…the Church of God. His kingdom will not be transferred to another people, or be destroyed, but stand forever.

      Daniel 2 44.

      44But in the days of those kingdoms the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, and his kingdom shall not be delivered up to another people, and it shall break in pieces, and shall consume all these kingdoms, and itself shall stand for ever.

      It will worship God through all generations.

      Ephesians 3

      20Now to Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, 21to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

      What was believed for the first 10 centuries is still believed today and is the doctrine from the Apostles and not sectarianism. It is the original kingdom that will not be transferred to another people. The gates of hell will not prevail against his church.

      1. Christ is the one who adds to His body the church (Acts 2:41,47), not to the Greek Orthodox Church, or to any other man made institution! If you sow 2000 year old wheat seed that’s from the 1st century, you will still reap a harvest identical to the ones they reaped! Except, in this case, the seed is the everlasting word of God, which always produces the same crop as it has done from the beginning!

        The church is a living organism because it is made up of a spiritual body and Head, who is Christ Jesus our Lord. It is our connection to the head that ever gives the body a growth and increase that is from God. He is our continuity and communion. And we are complete in Christ! That’s why we belong to a kingdom which will not be transferred to another people, or be destroyed, but will stand forever.

        Colossians 2:8-10 NKJV
        “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power.”

        Colossians 2:18-23 NKJV
        “Let no one cheat you of your reward, taking delight in false humility and worship of angels, intruding into those things which he has not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding fast to the Head, from whom all the body, nourished and knit together by joints and ligaments, grows with the increase that is from God.”

        “Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.”

      2. Aidan, Scripture teaches that It is the church that has the Christ- given authority to forgive or retain sin. It is the Church that binds and looses. It is the Church that has the keys of the kingdom of heaven. This goes against your view that you can skip the church to join the church. Christ is the head and all the grace come through him to all the members bringing growth and vitality..but this does not imply what you are saying.

      3. DNJohn, you claim that I want to skip the church to join the church? No, but you want to skip Christ to join the church. You’ve got it backwards, it is Christ who adds to His church, not the church (Acts 2:41,47). It is through Christ we are forgiven, not the church. It is He who saved us, not the church. When the ethiopian eunuch was baptized in the wilderness, Christ added him immediately to His body, the church. It was up to him then to go find a local church to work and worship with, or if need be, go and start one up himself by preaching that same gospel. And I am absolutely correct in saying that our continuity and communion resides in fellowship with Him. Read the seven churches in Revelation and tell me I’m wrong.

    2. Christian iconoclasm has more in common with Islam that with incarnational Christian theology. Jesus is the ” Icon of the invisible God” colossians 1:15.

      The Divine Word of God became tangible and depictable in the incarnation. 1 John 1.

      We worship only the one true and living God. Only to the Trinity is divine service ( Latria) offered. Honor or veneration is offered to holy things and holy people because they are reflections of the light and grace of Christ.

      For a full treatment of this topic I would recommend the work of St John of Damascus entitled On the Divine Images.

      You are expressing a zeal not according to knowledge and are going back to the times before the Incarnation…the times of the old law. An image of Christ or one of his holy ones, fellow members of the family of God, is not an idol and showing honor to them through that means, is not idolatry. Even in the old Law, God had images of cherubim in the temple embroidery etc.

      We do not offer Divine Service to any but the one God worshipped in Trinity .

      Therefore you can call me an idolater but I do no such thing. It is an accusation based on a misconstrued perception.

      DnJohn

      1. We said and thought the same things as you do when I was in Catholicism. But the reality is, is that praying to the saints as well as looking to Mary to make intercession on our behalf is idolatry! We are commanded only to pray to God. There is only one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus. And while only the Spirit intercedes in our prayers, only Christ Jesus, who is at the right hand of God can intercede for us. It’s not so much the images that are the problem, but rather, the using of them to pray to the saints, which is a form of worship and idolatry.

      2. Aidan,

        Asking the saints to pray for us assumes several biblical principles:

        1. That the departed in Christ are alive in him, not dead.” They lived and reigned with Christ.” And not only that Jesus said. ” I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. I am not the God of the dead but of the living.. For all live unto him.. MATTHEW 22:32

        2. That intercessory prayer for one another is good. Apostle Paul says that intercessions should be made for all men. ( 1 Timothy 2:1) St James says the fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. ( James 5:16)

        3. That Jesus is the mediator and others can agree in prayer with us and take petitions to the One mediator, Jesus Christ…the Lord himself said that two or three should agree together in prayer…( Matthew 18:19) that is not idolatry.

        4. That the saints do NOT pray instead of us but rarhwt pray with us as co – intercessors to the Lord. We also have direct access to the Father. They are not mediators like Jesus. JESUS is the only mediator of redemption.

        5. It assumes that we can communion in the same church with the ” spirits of just men made perfect” Hebrew 12, which the lack of communion with them in Christ, in prayer, shows severance from them. The church experiences that living bond with the heavenly church.

        6. To pray means “to ask, to beseech”…it is not worship. Worship is an offering of Supreme adoration to God. To ask for the prayers of a fellow member of the body of Christ who has departed and is with Christ and in Christ and the prayers are going to God is not idolatry.

        7. It is oneness in Christ that even which makes this communion in prayer possible. It is not prohibited or to say words of relative honor to them is not worship. Worship is absolute latria/adoration. Honor/veneration is relative…not the same.

        8. This was practiced even before Christ by the Jews and continued in the Christian Church since the beginning. See Ecclesiasticus 44-50, 2 Maccabees 15

      3. DNJohn, you wrote: “Christian iconoclasm has more in common with Islam that with incarnational Christian theology.”

        Response: If you are accusing me of wanting to break and destroy your images, that is some accusation!

        You wrote: “We worship only the one true and living God. Honor or veneration is offered to holy things and holy people because they are reflections of the light and grace of Christ.”

        Response: The word “venerate” is also used to define worship!

        You wrote: That I was…”going back to the times before the Incarnation…the times of the old law. An image of Christ or one of his holy ones, fellow members of the family of God, is not an idol and showing honor to them through that means, is not idolatry. Even in the old Law, God had images of cherubim in the temple embroidery etc.”

        Response: You just accused me of going back to the old law and then proceeded to justify your position based on the old law?😏Funny how that works!! You said to make an image of Christ is not an idol, is not idolatry?? Just like the calf in the wilderness whom they said, ‘this represents Jehovah who led us out of Egypt,’ is not an idol or idolatry, right?!!! They had just broken the second commandment. And Moses was so angry that he smashed the tablets God had just written on, and then ground the calf into dust and made them drink it. They got away lucky!

        And how do you know what an image of Christ looks like? It’s just ridiculous to think that we can make something into an image of Christ, or at least what we think is an image of Him, that represents Him! Something supposedly made in His likeness, but created in the thinking and imagination of men’s hearts. And then come before them and make prayer and supplication through these images and objects, some of which, I gather, are regarded even as having exhibited miraculous power. I thought that only in the Catholic Church this happened, but obviously not!

        Deut. 4:15-18, 23 NKJV
        15 “Take careful heed to yourselves, for you saw no form when the Lord spoke to you at Horeb out of the midst of the fire, 16 lest you act corruptly and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of any figure: the likeness of male or female, 17 the likeness of any animal that is on the earth or the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the air, 18 the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground or the likeness of any fish that is in the water beneath the earth.Take heed to yourselves, lest you forget the covenant of the Lord your God which He made with you, and make for yourselves a carved image in the form of anything which the Lord your God has forbidden you.”

        And, yes, there were images of cherubim in the temple embroidery which God specifically commanded, but only where the priests and High Priest were allowed to go; they would never in a million years have been allowed to make supplication and prayers through these images on the Temple walls.

  15. DNJohn, we must follow the pattern of worship of the early church. It is profitable to learn how the church of Christ worshipped. Acts 2:42 tells us: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and fellowship, and in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” Four main activities are specifically mentioned here which we will consider in order.
    1). The apostles’ doctrine: –To continue in the apostles’ doctrine would mean that the early disciples both heard and obeyed the teachings of the apostles. As inspired men their teachings were equal to the inspiration of Old Testament writings (cf. 2 Pet. 3:2). Hence the disciples listened reverently and eagerly to these Spirit-led men.
    2). The word fellowship means ‘joint participation’ or ‘a sharing together’, which of course plays a vital role in Christianity. We are to have fellowship with God and fellow Christians. One special phase of fellowship is the giving of our money to the service of God. From the very beginning the disciples were noted for such generosity (cf. Acts 4:32,34,35). The NT teaches that Christians are to give according to their prosperity every first day of the week (1Cor. 16:1,2).
    3). The breaking of bread: refers to the Lord’s Supper. Every faithful Christian is to partake both of the bread and the cup which recall the Lord’s body and blood. Some ask, ‘how often should we partake?’ Early disciples broke the bread every first day of the week; every Sunday! (Acts 20:7). Since it received the approval of the Apostle Paul, it would behoove all those wanting to follow the divine pattern to do likewise each Lord’s Day, Sunday.
    4). Prayer: This has always been a most blessed privilege of worship. Prayer can properly be counted as an act of worship.
    5). Singing: though not mentioned specifically in Acts 2:42, must be included in the worship of early Christians. In Colossians 3:16 we read, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” The command and example in each place in the NT is to sing. So, there you have it, the NT pattern for worship in a nutshell.

    1. It is the fullness of Apostolic doctrine that all heterodox
      are missing, since they ignore or are simply unaware ( mostly unintentionally) what the apostles handed on verbally in the Churches and assume that all was written down in the NT. You know that there is no instruction manuel for worship services in the New Testament.

      Also the Apostle was referring to the traditional Liturgical prayers…the Greek say THE prayers…not just prayer in general.

      ” And they held steadfastly to the Apostles teaching and the Fellowship/ Communion( gr. Koinonia) , to the breaking of the Bread, and to THE prayers. ” Acts 2:41. All definite articles in the Greek.

      I am glad you understand breaking of the Bread to be about Holy Communion. The Eucharist is essential for the existence of the Church as shown below:

      1 Corinthians 10. ( DR)

      14 Wherefore, my dearly beloved, fly from the service of idols.

      15 I speak as to wise men: judge ye yourselves what I say.

      16 The chalice of benediction, which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? And the bread, which we break, is it not the partaking of the body of the Lord?

      17 For we, being many, are one bread, one body, all that partake of one bread

      God bless

      1. What you regard as orthodox I regard as heterodox in the form of the traditions of men. We have in the NT the fullness of the faith, the gospel of Christ. The development of a special priest class, bishops over more than one local church, Archbishops, the forbidding of marriage etc., Signified a departure from the organizational structure and pattern of the New Testament church.

      2. Hi Aidan,

        I would like to address these issues you bring up. The first is priesthood. I will address that and the subject of Bishops over multiple churches.

        About priesthood…The Church is a kingdom of priests. Regardless of role in the Church every one has ” access in one Spirit to the Father” and all participate in the Eucharistic offering. Liturgy is the work of the people. All members participate in the works of the ministry too and care for one another and “spur each other to love and good works” and bear witness to Christ.

        Within the kingdom of priests i.e the royal priesthood of all believers, there are ordained priests with special grace given through Apostolic ordination. I will show this in the New Testament. I will demonstrate this in the life and words of the Holy Apostle Paul.

        First the office of Apostle is an office of priest and bishop. To see this, Let’s look at Romans 16:15:

        1. Apostolic Priesthood

        Romans 15:14-16

        14And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, and able also to admonish one another. 15But I have written very boldly to you on some points, so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, 16to be a minister ( Gr. Leitougos…literally “Liturgist”) of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest ( Gr. hierourgounta) the gospel of God, that my offering of the Gentiles might become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

        Paul says he has a particular grace from God to “minister as a priest of the Gospel of God”. ( Romans 15:16) The grace of the Apostolic priesthood is given by the laying on of hands. He was ordained by the Church of Antioch. ( Acts 13:1-3). Just as Jesus had set apart the other Apostles by a gifting of the Holy Spirit in John 20: 19-23, so the same Holy Spirit has Barnabas and Saul set apart for the priestly service of the Gospel of God.( Acts 13:1-3) through the laying on of hands by the Antiochian Church.

        The original Apostles were ordained by Christ himself, with the grace of the priesthood when he said, ” Do this for a remembrance/commemoration (Gr. ANAMNESIS) of me” AND affirmed this again when he breathed on them and said to them: Receive the Holy Spirit, whose sins you forgive they are forgiven them and whose sins you retain, they are retained.” Jesus did not give authority for the consecration of the Holy Communion or for the absolution and retention of sin to everyone but only to the 12, and they to whom they ordained for priestly service as successors.

        There are three offices of priesthood from the Apostles. Bishop, Presbyter, and Deacon. In New testament usage the term Episcopos( Bishop/overseer) and Presbyter( Elder) are used interchangeably. We see the difference however in the responsibilities given and later the three-fold differentiating terms common today was solidified. Indeed every Bishop is a presbyter but NOT every Presbyter is a Bishop.

        The first Bishops were the Apostles. They had the oversight of multiple churches. They had the ” keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever they bound on earth is bound in heaven. Whatever is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven..( See Matthew chapters 16 and 18) When Judas fell, he lost his “bishopric” ( gr. Episcopen Acts 1:25) and Mathias was chosen and ordained to fill that spot. Paul and Barnabas ordained elders in every church( Acts 14:23) and ordained Titus, who is known to have been Bishop of Crete. Paul ordained him for the following:

        TITUS 1:5-9 RSV

        This is why I left you in Crete, that you might amend what was defective, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you, 6 if any man is blameless, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of being profligate or insubordinate. 7 For a bishop, as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, 8 but hospitable, a lover of goodness, master of himself, upright, holy, and self-controlled; 9 he must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it.”

        The Fact that the Apostle Paul has the authority to oversee these Churches and he ordained his Son in the faith, Titus , to succeed him in that role…demonstrates Apostolic Sucession.

        The fact that it is a grace handed on by tangible means of laying on of hands proves that ordination is one of the Holy Sacraments.

        1 Timothy 4:14 DR

        Neglect not the grace that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with imposition of the hands of the priesthood( presbytery KJV) .

        2 Timothy 1:6 DR

        6 For which cause I admonish thee that thou stir up the grace of God which is in thee by the imposition of my hands.

        Notice Titus has oversight of multiple surrounding churches and he ordains their presbyters/priests. This is the Apostolic office of Bishop. The presbyters in the other cities would have been answerable to him to correct any defects. This clearly is different than the idea of the autonomy of the local congregation. This is Episcopal Church government in the New Testament.

        Here are a few words of clarity from the orthodoxwiki article about Bishops.

        “It is the belief of Orthodoxy that Christ is the only priest, pastor, and teacher of the Christian Church. He alone forgives sins and offers communion with God, his Father. Christ alone guides and rules his people. Christ remains with his Church as its living and unique head. Christ remains present and active in the Church through the Holy Spirit.

        Through the sacrament of holy orders bishops give order to the Church. Bishops guarantee the continuity and unity of the Church from age to age and from place to place, that is, from the time of Christ and the apostles until the establishment of God’s Kingdom in eternity. Bishops receive the gift of the Holy Spirit to manifest Christ in the Spirit to men. Bishops are neither vicars, substitutes, nor representatives of Christ. It is Christ, through his chosen ministers, who acts as teacher, good shepherd, forgiver, and healer. It is Christ remitting sins, and curing the physical, mental, and spiritual ills of mankind. This is a mystery of the Church”.
        ——-
        Sometimes the Apostles will address letters to Bishops /overseers and deacons . Again the term Presbyter and Episcopos were used interchangeably in the time of the writing of the New Testament. Perhaps originally overseers was a word describing what Presbyters do and Elder was a word describing their stature in the community as leaders?

        It is certain that there were those chosen to succeed the Apostles and ordained by them who had what would be essentially the role Bishop as we know it today..later the terminology caught up to the reality. This terminology was fine tuned to show those who were given a share in the Apostolic priesthood ( deacons and more so presbyters) and those who had the Fullness of the priesthood ( Bishops). By the second century the Language is three fold. That is not a departure (as we see essentially the office of Bishop in Titus and Timothy) but a clearer use of language. Language develops with time.

        ” Perhaps the strongest early reference outside the new testament to the presense of the four orders in Church government occurs in the writings of Ignatius Bishop of Antioch from AD 67-107, the very heart of the New Testament era. To the Church in Philadephia( See Rev. 3:7-13) he writes of Christians ( Laity) at one with the BISHOP AND THE PRESBYTERS AND THE DEACONS. ” ( pg 1635 the Four “Orders” of Church Governement, Orthodox Study Bible) This does not take away from the fact of the priesthood of all Christians but does show that there is leadership in sucession from the Apostles.

        Its a lot for one post but I thought I needed to at least give a kind of outline from the NT and early church history. I will address your other concerns in seperate posts.

        God bless.

        DNJOHN

      3. DNJohn,

        If the Church is a kingdom of priests, then there is no special class called ‘priests’ within the church. Read any of the epistles, you don’t see the establishment or ordination of priests within the churches, because they automatically became priests when they entered into Christ. All who are Christians are priests by virtue of the fact that they Christians, and in the kingdom.

        The church is made up of living stones and is a spiritual house and temple (1 Pet. 2:5,9; Eph. 2:19-22). Note the terms ‘royal [kingly] priesthood’ in 1 Pet. 2:9, which implies both a kingdom and a temple. Christians (as priests) must offer spiritual sacrifices (1 Pet. 2:5; Heb. 13:15-16) Also, present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice (Rom. 12:1). Hence there was no special class of ordained priests within the early church; all Christians are priests.

      4. Wrong. It isn’t a special class as you frame it but rather Jesus established leadership within the Church in sucession from the 12 Apostles, to whom he have authority he did not give to everyone. The Apostle Paul says obey them that have the rule over you and are over you in the Lord.

        Hebrews 13:17 DR

        “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”

        1 Timothy 5

        Let the priests that rule well, be esteemed worthy of double honour: especially they who labour in the word and doctrine:

        18 For the scripture saith: Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn: and, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

        19 Against a priest receive not an accusation, but under two or three witnesses.

        20 Them that sin reprove before all: that the rest also may have fear.

        21 I charge thee before God, and Christ Jesus, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing by declining to either side.

        22 Impose not hands lightly upon any man, neither be partaker of other men’s sins. Keep thyself chaste.

        Romans 15:14-16

        And concerning you, my brethren, I myself also am convinced that you yourselves are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge and able also to admonish one another. 15 But I have written very boldly to you on some points so as to remind you again, because of the grace that was given me from God, 16 to be a minister of Christ Jesus to the Gentiles, ministering as a priest the gospel of God, so that my offering of the Gentiles may become acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

        It is clear there is a “ministerial priesthood of the Gospel of God” Romans 15:16 that is Apostolic, a grace handed on through the laying on of hands, leadership within the kingdom of priests with authority not given to everyone, but those entrusted to watch for our souls, to which Christians are enjoined to be in obedience to in Christ.

        The fact that there is a royal priesthood does not negate the apostolic succession Jesus established through the sacrament of ordination to be perpetuated in his church, perpetuating the handing on of the Faith and the continuance of the 7 sacraments.

        He could have given this priestly authority to all but he gave it only to the 12 to be guarded and handed on through ordination and those who do those things, not having that apostolic succession are not doing it legitimately but rarher without validity.

        Without Apostolic Sucession therefore there is no true Eucharist/ Holy Communion of the Body and blood of Christ, which is necessary for the true church…what you have instead is a schism from the body. There is not even the one Baptism of the Church anymore for this reason.

        1 Corinthians 10

        The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ?

        17 For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread

        God bless.

        Dn John

      5. Wrong! There is absolutely NO apostolic succession found in the bible, not by the laying on of hands, or anything else for that matter. I’m not interested in hearing about traditions that cannot be substantiated in scripture. I heard the exact same stuff growing up in the Catholic Church, all based on so called tradition handed down and trying to use proof texts in the bible to justify it.

        I would certainly apply Heb. 13:17 and 1 Tim. 5:17,19 to the elders of the local church. And Paul was simply referring to his ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles in Rom. 15:16.

        1 Timothy 5:17-19 NKJV
        “Let the elders [presbyteros] who rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially those who labor in the word and doctrine. For the Scripture says, “You shall not muzzle an ox while it treads out the grain,” and, “The laborer is worthy of his wages.” Do not receive an accusation against an elder [presbyteros] except from two or three witnesses.”

        Romans 15:16 NKJV
        “That I might be a minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering of the Gentiles might be acceptable, sanctified by the Holy Spirit.”

        Vine:- “to minister in priestly service” (akin to hierourgos, “a sacrificing priest,” a word not found in the Sept. or NT: from hieros, “sacred,” and ergon, “work”), is used by Paul metaphorically of his ministry of the Gospel, Rom 15:16;..The Apostle uses words proper to the priestly and Levitical ritual, to explain metaphorically his own priestly service.”

        The priesthood of all believers rules out a clergy-laity distinction with a special class of priests, as in Catholicism and the Orthodox church.

        Regards,
        Aidan

      6. DNJohn,

        God ordained that the local congregation should be overseen by men known as elders or bishops. Let’s have a quick look at the names by which they were called and their number.

        1. Presbuteros: –translated “presbyter” or “elder” means “one advanced in life, an elder, a senior” (Thayer).
        2. Episkopos: –translated “bishop” or “overseer.” An overseer, a man charged with the duty of seeing that things to be done by others are done rightly; any curator, guardian, or superintendent” (Thayer).
        3.Poimen: –translated “pastor,” or “shepherd.” The word is translated “pastor” only one time, though the greek word is found 18 times in the New Testament.
        4. That these terms designate the same office or group of men is learned from the following: Acts 20:17, 28; Titus 1:5,7; 1 Pet. 5:1-5.

        So we see that the bishop or overseer was also an elder and pastor or shepherd of the flock. All these names describe the same man. They are not honorary titles, but are descriptions of the dignity and function of the man who is so designated.

        There was always a plurality of elders over one congregation: Jerusalem (Acts 11:30; 15:2,4,6); churches in Pisidia (Acts 14:23); Ephesus (Acts 20:17,28); Philippi (Phil. 1:1); Crete (Titus 1:5). These elders, who were the bishops and pastors over each local church had jurisdiction ONLY over the flock “among them,” over which they had been made “bishops.” They could extend it no further by divine authority (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2).

        In no place in the NT scriptures did God give bishops any jurisdiction over members of another congregation. The departure from this order was gradual, resulting in the apostasy of the church, and the development of a hierarchy and episcopal form of government, like Archbishops, Cardinals, and Popes etc..

        Regards,
        Aidan

      7. Aidan,

        You wrote the following:

        There was always a plurality of elders over one congregation: Jerusalem (Acts 11:30; 15:2,4,6); churches in Pisidia (Acts 14:23); Ephesus (Acts 20:17,28); Philippi (Phil. 1:1); Crete (Titus 1:5). These elders, who were the bishops and pastors over each local church had jurisdiction ONLY over the flock “among them,” over which they had been made “bishops.” They could extend it no further by divine authority (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 5:2).

        Let’s look at the verses you present.

        1. Acts 11:30, 15:2,4,6

        First of all, I have no problem with the idea that there were a council of elders ordained for a regional church or even in a single congregation.

        However, you will see in Galatians that there were churches in Judea,(plural) Galatians 1:22 so we are not talking about one congregation. This also proves that sometimes they speak in plural terms and sometimes in singular in regards to the Church. A local church encompasses more than a single congregation. So to prove from Acts 11:30 that these elders were from one congregation in Judea is not possible.

        Even if it was the case that the Apostles ordained a council of elders for one congregation following the pattern of the synagogue, does not mean that this set up in engraved in stone.

        Where are the multiple Elders/Bishops in one congregation in the 7 churches of Asia minor that St John wrote to in the Book of Revelation?

        In early times , They needed multiple priests to be ordained to serve with the overseer of the city church as there were surrounding house churches which needed priests that could celebrate the Eucharist. There is evidence of these house churches in the epistles.

        The word “episcopos” as used by the apostle Paul just meant roughly superintendent, someone in charge of overseeing. So the fact that the elders at Ephesus and Phillipi are called overseers of the Church of God, does not mean the term is equal to what the term would mean later as the Apostles start to ordain priests with the fullness of their priesthood to oversee multiple churches, to correct defects, and continue to ordain.

        Also what you will see in Acts 15 is a distinction between the senior overseers, that is , the Apostles, along with the elders( the overseers ordained by them) , and the Church in general. This is what you don’t like i.e distinguishing the ordained elders from the rest of the priesthood of believers. He repeats this a few times in Chapter 15 but they all work in harmony

        “The Orthodox Church often refers to presbyters in English as priests (priest is etymologically derived from the Greek presbyteros via the Latin presbyter). This usage is seen by some Protestant Christians as stripping the laity of its rightful priestly status, while those who use the term defend its usage by saying that, while they do believe in the priesthood of all believers, they do not believe in the eldership of all believers”. (orthodoxwiki presbyter)

        The Apostles were overseeing these elders in the churches of Judea and everywhere else. So your argument that there was never oversight over multiple congregations is false. This function was done directly by the Apostles. In Jerusalem, it was St.James.

        Only later did the Apostles hand on this responsibility to other trusted men through the sacrament of Holy Orders. (Many of the first Bishops in the hierarchical sense were from among the 70 apostles chosen by Christ.)

        https://orthodoxwiki.org/Seventy_Apostles

      8. Dn John, you wrote: “A local church encompasses more than a single congregation.”

        My Response:
        Wrong!!! A local church IS a single congregation.

        There was a church at Ephesus with elders: “From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders of the church” (Acts 20:17). Note it was a single church, one congregation, over which the Holy Spirit had made them overseers. Paul says to them:

        Acts 20:28 NKJV
        “Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Note again, their oversight was the flock ” among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.” Well, what flock was that? It was the church [singular] at Ephesus. Hence, that was the extent of their authority; they had no jurisdiction outside of the church at Ephesus. Peter also told the elders in 1 Pet. 5:2 to: “Shepherd the flock of God WHICH IS AMONG YOU, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly.”

        We may ask, “Was every Christian in Greece or Achaia a member of the same local church?” (cf. 1 Cor. 1:1-3; 2 Cor. 1:1-2; Rom. 16:1). It is obvious that they were not. In NT times each local church was to have its own elders or overseers (Acts 14:23).

        The local church is a collective unit that works and worships together:
        It is something that can assemble, i.e., come together or meet together on a regular basis (1 Cor. 11:18,20,33; 14:26; Acts 20:7; Heb 10:25). Each Christian was to participate in the congregational worship.

        Note the following,

        1 Cor. 11:18 –“For first of all, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you, and in part I believe it.”
        1 Cor. 11:20 –“Therefore when you come together in one place, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper.”
        1 Cor. 11:22 –“What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God..”
        1 Cor 14:26 –“How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.”
        1 Cor 14:28 –“But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.”

        It is clear from the above passages that the “local church” coming together for worship on a regular basis is a single congregation, and not many churches as you have supposed. Therefore, when elders are given oversight over the flock which is among them, it is not many churches that they are given rule over, but rather, a singular local church and congregation – just like the church at Ephesus.

      9. There was a fluidity of meaning with the word “Ekklesia”.Sometimes it meant a single gathering in one place. In Corinthians, Paul is correcting disorders that were occurring in the assembly…so in that letter he focuses on that. In Ephesians, he is focused on the Catholicity of the Church, His Body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.

        In the council of Jerusalem , the Apostles under the presiding authority of St James, with all the churches of Judea gathered .i.e the whole Church, discusses the matter of the Gentiles and St James speaks as the Bishop of Jerusalem, the first among equals. It was not just a lone congregation.

        It is a historical fact that the Apostles were Bishops in the hierarchical sense and presided over multiple churches and that they ordained men to succeed them in that role, regardless of how many priests their were in a congregation, they still were under the Bishop ordained by the Apostle. We see this right away in Church history. This is what the Apostles historically did.

        It is acknowledged that initially the pattern of the synagogue was followed with a council of elders but that does not mean it was absolute to always have multiple Elders in one locale. Natural historical development does not equal apostasy. Apostasy is a falling away from the Faith of Christ and breaking away from his Body, the Church.

        As the Church grew, the Bishop would ordain priests (and deacons)to fill new congregations as his representative, sometimes one, sometimes multiple priests depending on the needs locally. This is not an apostasy. This was the priestly role of the Apostle continued..Where is the command that a parish has to have a set number of presbyters? It looks like the churches of Asia Minor has one Presbyter each in the book of Revelation. Looks like it is according to need as discerned by the Apostle (and later by the hierarchical Bishop).

        To Cambellite sects and other restorationists, everyone is apostate except them..even though they themselves bear scant resemblance to the early Church in faith, worship, or practice and have no organic unity with the Apostolic Church.

      10. Dn John, you wrote:

        “There was a fluidity of meaning with the word “Ekklesia”.Sometimes it meant a single gathering in one place. In Corinthians, Paul is correcting disorders that were occurring in the assembly…so in that letter he focuses on that. In Ephesians, he is focused on the Catholicity of the Church, His Body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all.”

        My response:
        Your comments about the church at Corinth and Ephesus have no bearing on what I said.

        The word ‘church’ is used in at least four senses in the New Testament.

        A. Used in the – general or universal sense – to designate all the saved (Mt. 16:18; Eph. 4:4; 1:22-23).

        B. Used of – a singular local church – to designate the saved who work and worship together in a specific locality (Mt. 18:15-18; 1 Cor 1:2; 1 Thess 1:1).

        C. Used of – an assembly – of saints for worship (1 Cor. 11:18; 14:4,5,28, et al.).

        D. Used in the – distributive sense – or distributed (Acts 5:11; 8:1,3; 9:31, where the best manuscripts use the singular number; 12:5).

        Some have the misconception that the church universal is composed of all the local churches. This is not correct. The church universal is composed of all saved individuals. But the term ‘church’ is NOT used of a group larger or smaller than the local church in any organized sense.

        1). Sometimes we may speak of these local churches in the singular (Mt. 18:15-18; 1 Cor 1:2; 1 Thess 1:1).

        2). Sometimes we may speak of these local churches in the plural (Churches, Rom. 16:16; Gal. 1:22).

      11. 1 Peter 5 is an interesting chapter and it isn’t translated well in a lot of versions.

        Here it is translated literally.

        1Elders who [are] among you, I exhort [you], [as] a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of the Christ, and a partaker of the glory about to be revealed, 2feed the flock of God that [is] among you, overseeing ( (“Overseeing” is omitted in RSV, it is footnotes that other ancient manuscripts add it) not by compulsion, but willingly, neither for shameful gain, but eagerly, 3neither as exercising lordship over the HERITAGES( Plural Gr. Kleros) , but becoming patterns for the flock, 4and the Chief Shepherd having appeared, you will receive the unfading garland of glory.

        2819. kléros ►
        Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
        STRONGS NT 2819: κλῆρος

        κλῆρος, κλήρου, ὁ, from Homer down; the Sept. mostly for גּורָל and נַחֲלָה; a lot; i. e.:
        1. an object used in casting or drawing lots, which was either a pebble, or a potsherd, or a bit of wood (hence, κλῆρος is to be derived from κλάω (cf. Ellicott on Colossians 1:12)): Acts 1:26 (see below); βάλλοντες κλῆρον, Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:24 (Psalm 21:19 (); Jonah 1:7, etc.); the lots of the several persons concerned, inscribed with their names, were thrown together into a vase, which was then shaken, and he whose lot first fell out upon the ground was the one chosen (Homer, Iliad 3, 316, 325; 7, 175, etc.; Livy 23, 3 (but cf. B. D. American edition, under the word Lot)); hence, ὁ κλῆρος πίπτει ἐπί τινα, Acts 1:26 (Ezekiel 24:6; Jonah 1:7).

        2. what is obtained by lot, allotted portion: λαγχάνειν and λαμβάνειν τόν κλῆρον τῆς διακονίας, a prrtion in the ministry common to the apostles, Acts 1:17, 25 R G; ἐστι μοι κλῆρος ἐν τίνι, dative of the thing, Acts 8:21; like κληρονομία (which see) it is used of the part which one will have in eternal salvation, λαμβάνειν … τόν κλῆρον ἐν τοῖς ἡγιασμένοις, among the sanctified, Acts 26:18 (Wis. 5:5); of eternal salvation itself, κλῆρος τῶν ἁγίων, i. e. the eternal salvation which God has assigned to the saints, Colossians 1:12 (where cf. Lightfoot). of persons, οἱ κλῆροι, those whose care and oversight has been assigned to one (allotted charge), used of Christian churches, the administration of which falls to the lot of the presbyters: 1 Peter 5:3, cf. Acts 17:4; (for patristic usage see Sophocles Lexicon, under the word; cf. Lightfoot on Philippians, p. 246f

      12. Luke 1:1-4 NASB77

        1Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile an account of the things accomplished among us, 2just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word have handed them down to us, 3it seemed fitting for me as well, having investigated everything carefully from the beginning, to write it out for you in consecutive order, most excellent Theophilus; 4so that you might know the exact truth about the things you have been taught.

        This does not imply that Theophilus was not a Christian. He is just receiving instruction that ” he might know the exact truth about what he has been taught.”

      13. That was simply a formal address given to governing officials, nothing more, nothing less.

        “Most excellent (2903)(kratistos superlative from kratus = strong) is an honorary way to address high officials, being reserved fro the highest dignitaries. Most noble. BDAG – “strongly affirmative honorary form of address.” This word is used only 4x all by Luke to address Theophilus, Claudius (Acts 23:26+), Felix (Acts 24:3+) and Festus (Acts 26:25+).”

      14. Dn John,

        In the New Testament the overseers/bishops who were elders, should never be confused with other workers and their functions. Young Timothy or Titus were not qualified to be elders, they were young and were simply evangelists.

        In answer to the question “Who is called episcopos(Overseer,Bishop)?” Beyer answers that “the wandering, charismatic preachers of the Gospel, the apostles, prophets and teachers are never called episcopai [plural of episcopos]..” (TDNT, 2:615).

        The work of elders is not the work of deacons: The term deacon means a “servant of someone” (BAGD, 184). The deacons serve under the oversight of the elders, just as any other member of the church.

        The work of elders is not the work of evangelists. Notice the contrast in the work:
        1 Tim. 4:16 – EVANGELIST – Take heed to self – and to your TEACHING.
        Acts 20:28 – ELDER – Take heed to self – and to the FLOCK.

        The work of elders is not the work of apostles. As Beyer says, early Christianity had a clear sense of the distinction between the two (apostolate and episcopate)” (TDNT, 2:608).

      15. Hi Aidan,,

        I thought i would address your comment about “forbidding to marry.”

        Presbyters can be married or monastic celibate men. There were both celibate and married men among the Apostles. No one is “forbidden” to marry. People can choose a monastic life if they discern the calling for that but no one is forced to be a monastic.

        Our parish priests are mostly married men. My pastor has 9 kids and one on the way! We do not have a strictly celibate priesthood.

        Bishops since the 6th century for practical reasons have been ordained from the monastic ranks but that is not an eternal law but an expediency.

        The passage about forbidding to marry and abstaining from meats is what I think you were alluding to in your reply to me. So I would like to share what an 18th century Bishop wrote about this which I found to be insightful.

        Bishop Challoner writes :

        [3] “Forbidding to marry, to abstain from meats”: He speaks of the Gnostics, the Marcionites, the Eneratites, the Manicheans, and other ancient heretics, who absolutely condemned marriage, and the use of all kind of meat; because they pretended that all flesh was from an evil principle. Whereas the church of God, so far from condemning marriage, holds it a holy sacrament; and forbids it to none but such as by vow have chosen the better part: and prohibits not the use of any meats whatsoever in proper times and seasons; though she does not judge all kind of diet proper for days of fasting and penance.

        God bless.

        Dn John

      16. Dn John,

        I will also address the question of whether bishops should be married or not, but from the perspective of what the NT teaches.

        Bible instances of appointment:
        1. Elders were appointed (ordained) by Paul and Barnabas (Acts 14:23). The word ‘cheirotoneo’ means “to choose, elect by raising hands, then generally, especially of election or selection for definite offices or tasks” (BAGD, 881).
        2. Titus was left in Crete to appoint elders in every city (Titus 1:5). The word ‘kathistemi’ means to “appoint, put in charge…ordain, appoint” (BAGD, 390).

        The instructions regarding elders and their qualifications were given to Timothy and Titus. This indicates that the evangelists are to teach the duties and qualifications of elders, and to lead in the appointment of elders, at least where there are no elders.

        We now consider the qualifications of elders. Note the emphatic “MUST” of 1 Tim. 3:2 and Titus 1:7. He MUST possess these qualifications, though degrees of possession may vary. The qualifications are found in 1 Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. Let’s consider just one or two:

        1 Timothy 3:2 NKJV
        “A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded, of good behavior, hospitable, able to teach.”
        Note, he MUST be “the husband of one wife.” Husband of one wife is included in both epistles. An unmarried person is therefore not qualified to be a bishop.

        1 Timothy 3:4,5 NKJV
        “One who rules his own house well, having HIS CHILDREN in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?).” Not only must he be married, but he MUST have children(cf. Titus 1:6). Hence, the practices and teachings of both the Catholic and Orthodox churches regarding the celibacy of bishops, are a departure from the Apostolic pattern and teaching given to us in the NT. Among many other things, it is an apostasy that must be exposed and repented of.

      17. Aidan,

        The Apostle John was not married. Neither was Paul. The Apostles were the first Presbyter/Bishops. Peter refers that to himself in one of the references you gave, and he was unmarried. It means if Married, must be husband of one wife. Paul was ordained by the church of Antioch, not being married. So he could not mean marriage is absolutely required. But if married, the ordained man must not marry again.

        When Judas fell, he lost his ” bishopic” .

        Ministerial Priesthood i.e Eldership was an ordination with the laying on of hands.. I already give you some references for that and grace was bestowed by that laying on of hands. Grace not held by everyone.

        Not having apostolic sucession means no true Eucharist or Sacraments and no authority to be a church at all. You are a fellowship of disciples ( many evangelicals believe that is all the local church is) but not the Church of Christ, his Body. Repent of sectarianism and heresy and come to the fullness of the Faith.

        You have no biblical basis for an apostasy of the Church and subsequent need for a restoration. I invite you to the true fold of Christ.

      18. Dn John,

        Wrong again on every level. You just keep rejecting what the scriptures say in defense of the traditions of men. Peter WAS married and therefore was eventually able to become a bishop (1 Pet. 5:1-2). John too it seems was married with believing children since he describes himself as an elder (2 Jn. 1:1; 3 Jn 1:1). But Paul was never married, therefore was never qualified (1 Tim. 3:2,4). And you are twisting the scriptures again. It says MUST be married to one wife, NOT “if married.” Marriage is absolutely required for one to become a bishop. Shame on you for twisting the clear statement of Scripture.

        Paul was NEVER ordained a bishop by the church at Antioch. That’s not the purpose of their laying on of hands –You have provide NO scriptural evidence for your interpretation, nor for any so-called apostolic succession, none whatsoever! And besides, Paul, who gave the qualifications for the appointment of Bishops, disqualified himself by not getting married and having children. And the Lord’s Supper is in no way dependent on, or affected by the lack of apostolic succession. That’s just a made up thing by a hierarchy wanting to hold onto power! The apostles may of had greater authority than the bishops, but that does not automatically make them bishops. You are not rejecting what I’m saying, you are rejecting the word of God. By rejecting the truth you are only hurting yourself.

      19. Peter was married and he was a Bishop/presbyter as an Apostle, which means that the other unmarried apostles e.g John, Paul were also Bishops/Presbyters, negating your interpretation that a man must be married to be ordained.

        That was my point.

      20. First you say Peter was not married, and now you say he was — your uncertainty is not the making of a convincing argument 🙃. Besides, Acts 15 says, apostles and elders, not, elders and elders because there was a clear distinction in the office and functions of apostles and elders in New Testament times. Anyways, I think John would have been a bit young at that point to be an elder.🤭

      21. I never said he was married. I said he was an apostle and a Bishop as a result…then i showed how unmarried men fulfilled the same role i.e Paul and John et al…proving you do not have to be married to be a Bishop. He was indicating to Timothy that if a man to be ordained was married then it has to be with one wife and he cannot remarry after ordination, not that the Church can only ordain men who are married.

      22. You actually did say he was married, here’s what you wrote; “Peter was married and he was a Bishop/presbyter as an Apostle.” And, he was indicating to Timothy that if a man to be ordained was married, then it has to be with one wife; not two, not three, not none – but one! That would certainly disqualify bachelors and polygamists, not that I think polygamists should even be baptized in the first place. And if his wife died, then he would no longer qualify and would have to step down.

      23. I’m smiling, because Peter DID have a wife (Mat. 8:14; 1 Cor. 9:5).🙂😆🤣

      24. None of us get every detail right! But this just corroborates the fact that you had to be married to become an elder. As far as I remember, I don’t think this was changed until around the 6th century by the Catholic Church, which would have included yourselves.

      25. The Church never interpreted that way. You do not cease being a priest when your wife dies or have to step down. This was never the interpretation.

        The way you lined up the role of different offices in another post also is not accurate. St Philip the Evangelist was also a Deacon. He was also known to have been one of the Seventy Apostles. So he wore several hats, apparently. Acts 6:5, Acts 21:8

        Elders rule, teach and preach.

        Let the elders that rule well be considered worthy of double honor , especially those who labor in preaching and teaching. 1 Timothy 5:17

        St.Timothy’s responsibilities mentioned in the epistles to Timothy directly correlate with those of a Bishop. He was not young in the Faith and in his spiritual maturity. He won the confidence of the presbyterate who joined with St.Paul in the laying on of hands. It was not as legalistic as you make it seem. Plus we have the historical information about his life.

        Same with Titus. He died as a martyr by pagan worshippers of Diana. But he was a Bishop too. You can read the history of his life.

        The Apostles did have a higher calling than the overseers that were first ordained because they were living to have the oversight themselves and did not need to replicate themselves, so to speak, yet.. and later they began to hand on that higher authority to other trusted men as the church grew. This is the genesis of the higher office of priesthood, that of hierarchical Bishop.

        Then authority was delegated from the bishop to the other presbyters and their assignments were alloted to them.

        God bless

      26. Dn John, you wrote:
        “The Church never interpreted that way. You do not cease being a priest when your wife dies or have to step down. This was never the interpretation.”

        Response:
        I didn’t say you cease being a priest, because every Christian is a priest. But you no longer meet one of the main qualifications to being an elder, namely being married to one wife. As regards Philip the evangelist, in the very beginning of the church (Acts 6), before he became known as Philip the evangelist, he was one of the seven selected to take care of serving tables in an emergency situation. My understanding is that it was just for this one job and not a general service that he was selected for. The whole situation with the church in Jerusalem in the beginning of Acts was very unique, consequently it presented some difficult challenges and problems along the way, such as the one mentioned in Acts 6. They could have had a major split in the church in it’s very infancy, and ruined the reputation of the apostles, had that not been handled right. Thankfully it was!

        I’m not denying that both Timothy and Titus could have become qualified to be elders later in life, but they were just evangelists at the time Paul wrote to them. And the apostles could not pass on their higher authority, or apostleship to anyone else. That person would have to be be Divinely chosen as in the case of Matthias, Paul, and the rest of the 12. And as far as I’m aware, nobody today has seen the risen Lord.

        Galatians 1:1 –“Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead)”

        And in the New Testament no one bishop had authority over the others. In your case, maybe I should say, ‘none was more equal than the others’.

      27. Bishops are not Apostles but are similar to them in the sense that Apostles were also Bishops. You are basing your words as if we taught that Bishops are new apostles. They are not but have oversight in a way more similar to the apostles. When the apostles were living, they ordained few with this kind of oversight because they were doing that themselves….that changed later. The reason they did laying on of hands was precisely to hand on the grace of the office to do their kind of oversight but they were still not an Apostle. Apostles had special requirements as you mentioned. They were eyewitnesses of Christ etc.

        The views you express are novel and now how the Church viewed these things anywhere.

      28. I don’t actually deny that the apostles had to exercise oversight athority at the very beginning in Jerusalem for example. But that was not to be their role, it would only have been out of necessity. But if Acts 6 has taught us anything, if they hadn’t time for serving tables, they certainly would not have time, long term, for the oversight of congregations, that would have taken them away from their main mission. They were apostolos not presbyteros.

      29. Aidan,

        The Holy Apostle John calls himself a presbyter or the presbyter in 2 John. He was not in charge of Jerusalem. They ordained more men to allow themselves more time to do what what needed.

        2 John 2

        “The elder [ Greek: The presbyteros] to the elect lady and her children, whom I love in the truth, and not only I but also all who know the truth, 2 because of the truth which abides in us and will be with us for ever: 3 Grace, mercy, and peace will be with us, from God the Father and from Jesus Christ the Father’s Son, in truth and love.”

        About the idea that one should step down from ministering as a priest ( presbyter) if their wife dies misses the whole point and is incongruous with Paul’s thought.

        First the specifications about being ” the husband of one wife” or literally ” a one woman man” was, along with the other specifications, about moral character. It was not an arbitrary rule. You are seeing this too legalistically. If a man’s wife dies, it is no lessening of his moral character. In fact, being single provides some advantages according to St.Paul.

        Notice Paul’s words is 1 Corinthians 7

        32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to please the Lord; 33 but the married man is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried woman or girl is anxious about the affairs of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit; but the married woman is anxious about worldly affairs, how to please her husband. 35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord.
        ————-‐-
        The interpretation you present is out of harmony with the attitude of St.Paul and the practice of the Church.

      30. I’m afraid it’s the interpretation you’ve made that is out of harmony with the scriptures. I already cited 2 John to you before to show that he eventually became an elder in later life, which means that he got married and had a family. As for Paul’s instructions in 1 Corinthians 7, you cannot take a passage out of context like that in order to negate the qualifications for a bishop to be married. It was the same Apostle who gave those qualifications! You are simply trying to use this passage to justify the practice of unmarried bishops. Those instructions Paul gave in Corinthians had to do with the “present distress” (v.26), and therefore are not to be applied under normal circumstances. They do not apply to whether bishops should be married or not, that question has already been answered by Paul in Timothy and Titus.
        You keep accusing me of being legalistic. If wanting to keep the commandments of God makes me legalistic then that’s what I want to be. 1 Cor. 7:19 — Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but what matters is the keeping of the commandments of God.

      31. We know the history of the apostles, saints and martyrs and no he was never married. You are assuming that based on your interpretation not on historical facts.

      32. If that’s the case, then that just means John is referring to himself as “the elder” not in the sense in which that word is synonymous with bishop in a local church, but rather in the primary sense of an older or aged person. Therefore it doesn’t change the truth about bishops needing to be married, not one iota.

      33. You can believe that he was just calling himself old if you want to, I suppose. But what would be the point of that?

      34. I don’t know, except, if he wasn’t married, then he could not have been an elder in the sense of 1 Tim. 3 and Titus 1. In that case, perhaps for love’s sake and as an appeal, John gives himself a less authoritative designation than “apostle.” Also, John tended not to put his name to these letters. It would seem that it is not merely an allusion to his age, because he uses an article before it, “the elder.” So, if the elder signifies no official position, then perhaps to indicate one who belongs to the first generation of Christian believers, and especially in John’s case as one who is the last surviving apostle. That alone would have been enough to give him great respect and honor among the churches. But as I said I don’t know; these are just some thoughts as to why, and nothing I would be dogmatic about.

        Regards,
        Aidan

      35. The scriptures ARE historical evidence! But you were the one who said, ‘historically he was never married’. Therefore, it was on that basis that I was answering YOUR question.

      36. You are taking a rigid interpretation beyond the intent of the Aposte as shown in 1 Corinthians 7. The “present distress” was the entirely of the Roman Empire, not limited to Corinth.

      37. It doesn’t matter, the “present distress” limited Paul’s instructions to those circumstances which could only be applied to one that was similar. And I’m not taking a rigid interpretation, but rather, it is you who are taking a LOOSE interpretation far beyond what the apostles intended – what your church is doing is violating the Scriptures!

      38. “The Husband of One Wife”
        Another Protestant argument, related to the last, is that marriage is mandatory for Church leaders. For Paul says a bishop must be “the husband of one wife,” and “must manage his own household well, keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way; for if a man does not know how to manage his own household, how can he care for God’s Church?” (1 Tim. 3:2, 4–5). This means, they argue, that only a man who has demonstrably looked after a family is fit to care for God’s Church.

        This interpretation leads to obvious absurdities. For one, if “the husband of one wife” really meant that a bishop had to be married, then by the same logic “keeping his children submissive and respectful in every way” would mean that he had to have children. Childless husbands (or even fathers of only one child, since Paul uses the plural) would not qualify.

        In fact, following this style of interpretation to its final absurdity, since Paul speaks of bishops meeting these requirements, it would even follow that an ordained bishop whose wife or children died would become unqualified for ministry! Clearly such excessive literalism must be rejected.

        The theory that Church leaders must be married also contradicts the obvious fact that Paul himself, an eminent Church leader, was single. Unless Paul was a hypocrite, he could hardly have imposed a requirement on bishops that he did not himself meet. Consider, too, the implications regarding Paul’s positive attitude toward celibacy in 1 Corinthians 7: the married have worldly anxieties and divided interests, yet only they are qualified to be bishops; whereas the unmarried have single-minded devotion to the Lord, yet are barred from ministry!

        Clearly, the point of Paul’s requirement that a bishop be “the husband of one wife” is not that he must have one wife, but that he must have only one wife. Expressed conversely, Paul is saying that a bishop must not have unruly or undisciplined children (not that he must have children who are well behaved), and must not be married more than once (not that he must be married).

        The truth is, it is precisely those who are uniquely “concerned about the affairs of the Lord” (1 Cor. 7:32), those to whom it has been given to “renounce marriage for the sake of the kingdom” (Matt. 19:12), who are ideally suited to follow in the footsteps of those who have “left everything” to follow Christ (cf. Matt. 19:27)—the calling of the clergy and consecrated monastics (i.e., monks and nuns).

        An example of ministerial celibacy can also be seen in the Old Testament. The prophet Jeremiah, as part of his prophetic ministry, was forbidden to take a wife: “The word of the Lord came to me: ‘You shall not take a wife, nor shall you have sons or daughters in this place’” (Jer. 16:1–2). Of course, this is different from Episcopal celibacy, which is not divinely ordained; yet the divine precedent still supports the legitimacy of the human institution.

        Forbidden to Marry?
        Yet none of these passages give us an example of humanly mandated celibacy. Jeremiah’s celibacy was mandatory, but it was from the Lord. And even in 1 Corinthians 7 Paul qualifies his strong endorsement of celibacy by adding: “I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord” (7:35).

        This brings us to Protestantism’s last line of attack: that, by requiring at least some of its clerics and its religious not to marry, the Church falls under Paul’s condemnation in 1 Timothy 4:3 against apostates who “forbid marriage.”

        In fact, the Church forbids no one to marry. No one is required to take a vow of celibacy; those who do, do so voluntarily. They “renounce marriage” (Matt. 19:12); no one forbids it to them. The Church simply elects candidates for the Episcopacy from among those who voluntarily renounce marriage.

        But is there scriptural precedent for this practice of restricting membership in a group to those who take a voluntary vow of celibacy? Yes. Paul, writing once again to Timothy, mentions an order of widows pledged not to remarry (1 Tim. 5:9-16); in particular advising: “But refuse to enroll younger widows; for when they grow wanton against Christ they desire to marry, and so they incur condemnation for having violated their first pledge” (5:11–12).

        This “first pledge” broken by remarriage cannot refer to previous wedding vows, for Paul does not condemn widows for remarrying (cf. Rom. 7:2-3). It can only refer to a vow not to remarry taken by widows enrolled in this group. In effect, they were an early form of women religious—New Testament nuns. The New Testament Church did contain orders with mandatory celibacy, just as the Church does today.

        Adapted from: https://www.catholic.com/tract/celibacy-and-the-priesthood

      39. All the sophistry in the world won’t change what the scriptures say. When the inspired apostle said that a bishop must be the husband of one wife what did he mean? He meant precisely what he said, namely, ” a bishop MUST be the husband of one wife.” Likewise, what do we think the Hebrew writer means when he says that one “must believe” (Heb. 11:6)? He means precisely what he says, that one MUST believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. No amount of twisting of scripture, or taking passages out of context can change what it says.

      40. So those enrolled among the widows were not allowed to remarry…so Paul would fall under your same condemnation.

      41. Paul was not a bishop, these instructions were for bishops, not Apostles. And what Paul wrote here were commandments from the Lord, not him! “If anyone thinks himself to be a prophet or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things which I write to you are the commandments of the Lord” (1 Cor 14:37).

      42. Paul also taught to remain in the state in which you are called…it is a principle of stability. Based on that, it has always been that ordained men do not marry after ordination but remain. “Art thou loosed from a wife, seek not a wife.” 1 Cor 7.

        No one in the Church interpreted Paul the way you do, so the words ” must be husband of one wife” were applied to those men who were married and did not exclude those who were not. The stress was on ” of one wife” because that was the moral issue. This was all about moral character not an arbitrary rule. You can disagree and say that the whole church universally has always been wrong on that …but there is not a chance.

        I am not going to argue that point anymore with you as it is futile.

      43. Dn John wrote:
        “Paul also taught to remain in the state in which you are called…it is a principle of stability. Based on that, it has always been that ordained men do not marry after ordination but remain. “Art thou loosed from a wife, seek not a wife.” 1 Cor 7.”

        Response:
        How absurd! You are misapplying this passage! The instructions in 1 Cor 7, were not given for the sake of ordained clergy-men, a special class within a church, but rather to ordinary people, the laity, as you would call it. 1 Corinthians 7 is written in answer to questions from the congregation – who were simply the ordinary folk within the church. It is to them that Paul writes his advice and instruction. It was to them that he gave counsel – in view of the “present distress,” saying:

        1 Corinthians 7:26-27
        “I think then that this is good in view of the present distress, that it is good for a man to remain as he is. Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be released. Are you released from a wife? Do not seek a wife.”

        No, this advice was not universal for all time and all circumstances, it would certainly be strange if it was. Nor was it for a special class, but it was for the sake of these ordinary Christians in Corinth to help them face the impending or “present distress.”

        Dn John, you wrote: “No one in the Church interpreted Paul the way you do”

        Response:
        You mean no one in the Orthodox Church! That’s fine, because the orthodox church is not the church that Jesus built. And yes, I agree with you, the bishop being the husband of one wife is about moral character not an arbitrary rule. For Paul goes on to say that he must be:

        1 Timothy 3:4-5
        “One who rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all reverence (for if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care of the church of God?)” So, in spite of your argument against it, the inspired apostle says that the leadership who can best serve the Lord are not the celibate, but rather the ones who are married and have learned to rule their own household well.

        Did you know that they also married in Old Testament times? The priests married, and so did the high priests, and that they had children. Therefore, both in the Old and New Testaments the leadership were able to freely marry and have family, and God’s people thrived with such leadership. Contrast that with the fruit of clerical celibacy in churches today, and all the problems that go with it, and see which one is the wisdom of God.

      44. Just want to clarify that the first part of v.27 “Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be loosed” is universal as it relates to Jesus teaching on divorce (cf. 7:10-16).

      45. You forbid your ” Elders ” to marry while being elders too because they would have to step down if their wife died. So you forbid elders to marry and by your standard you would be apostate.

      46. You’re joking, right? The reason why he could no longer be an elder is because he is no longer married. It think most would voluntarily step down because of this.

      47. I love this passage of Scripture and I am sure you do too!

        1 Timothy 3 ( D.R)

        10But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, patience, 11Persecutions, afflictions: such as came upon me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra: what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12And all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution. 13But evil men and seducers shall grow worse and worse: erring, and driving into error. 14But continue thou in those things which thou hast learned, and which have been committed to thee: knowing of whom thou hast learned them; 15And because from thy infancy thou hast known the holy scriptures, which can instruct thee to salvation, by the faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16All scripture, inspired of God, is profitable to teach, to reprove, to correct, to instruct in justice, 17That the man of God may be perfect, furnished to every good work.

      48. Hi Aidan Yes, i have some thoughts to share. Really a question.

        in 1 Timothy 3:14, both Tydales ,Geneva Bible, Jubilee Bible, Douay Rheims, Coverdale, Aramaic Bible,, and a few others say by THE faith which is in Christ Jesus other modern evangelical versions say simply ” faith in Christ Jesus”. The latter indicating a subjective belief or trust which goes along more with their sola fide doctrine or is the objective “The Faith” which includes trust in christ but also takes in more than that. Which is correct? It looks like the definite article is present in the Greek and just omitted. What do you think?

        1 Timothy 3 Jubilee Bible

        But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and in that which has been entrusted unto thee, knowing of whom thou hast learned them,

        15 and that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto saving health by the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

      49. Hi, Dn John,
        Yes, I had a look at that passage. It would seem most of the translations have “through”(dia) faith where only a few translate it through (the) faith. The Jubilee has “the” in italics suggesting they don’t believe it’s there in the Greek, and I personally don’t see the article there either, but I’m not a Greek scholar. I have quoted the passage below and thought it might be wise to include verses 16 and 17 since they are connected.

        2 Timothy 3:14-17 NKJV
        “But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

        We can see how the emphasis here is on the word of God, the scriptures, how they can make you wise unto salvation(v.15); then he shows in verse 16, all the things the scriptures (the word of God) is profitable for i.e., (teaching, reproof, correction, etc..) – so that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work(v.17). But of course, let’s not leave out the important piece, that this wisdom unto salvation is through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

        So we have a body of teaching (the scriptures) able to make us wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

        A good passage to bring into this discussion is Romans 10:17 –“So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” In the context the gospel preached is the message or report, which being heard induces belief. Of course not all believe, but that’s the gist of it. It is interesting that the article seems to be before faith in this verse, yet we know what the sense of it is by its context. It can be traced in this way: The thing heard originates in the mind of God and respects His Son; it is reported by the preachers of the gospel; it is heard; out of it when heard, comes the belief; out of belief comes obedience; out of obedience comes the remission of sins, salvation, justification; and out of all these, eternal life.

        I would be inclined to say that our faith(subjective) is dependent on “the faith”(objective), or at least it should be, and therefore we should not so easily separate them. In that sense, our faith is rooted in the faith, which is the gospel, the body of teaching.

        Regards,
        Aidan

      50. Like your analysis….it goes along with ” the form of sound words” that the Apostle also spoke of with Timothy. Also in the passage, Paul is speaking to someone who has experienced regeneration and justification in Baptism and yet he says that the scriptures can instruct him to salvation.

        This show that there is a past aspect, a present aspect which is union with Christ, who is himself Eternal Life, and the goal of eternal life in the eternal kingdom upon perseverance till the end. Abiding in Christ and bearing fruit is commanded and necessary and only possible through co-operating with Divine Grace. Many evangelicals think that salvation is once and done; that is an error.

        When I looked at the interlinear on Bible Hub and did see a ” tes” ( ” the”) there but there was no English word under it?

      51. I fully agree that salvation by faith alone and once saved always saved are not biblical concepts. I’ve gotten into trouble for saying this, but there ya go. I didn’t look at bible hub in my search, but will do, now that you’ve told me.

      52. Marriage is Good and a Holy Sacrament. All Foods are Good and none are forbidden as bad.

        In contrast, Heretics hated marriage and forbade it and fleshmeats too because they were gnostics and thought these things were evil. You have once again misapplied scripture in order to slander.

        The Encratites (“self-controlled”) were an ascetic 2nd-century sect of Christians who forbade marriage and counselled abstinence from meat. Eusebius says that Tatian was the author of this heresy.

        https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Encratites

      53. It’s funny, but this reminds me of the story of Naaman the leper. If you remember he came into Israel looking to be cured of his leprosy and was told to dip himself seven times in the Jordan river and he would be cleansed. But that made absolutely no sense to him, so he railed and ranted against it, refusing to submit to such an absurdity until one of his servant girls talked sense into him. All credit to the little servant girl; had she not stepped in he would not have been cured. But I give him this much, at least he finally listened in the end.

        I take it because you belong to the Orthodox Church that you believe in baptism as a precondition to salvation? I find there are a lot of people today who react like Naaman when presented with the scriptures, none more so than those who refuse to follow the teaching on the necessity of baptism. If it doesn’t make sense to them they reject it! Many try to come up with all sorts of clever arguments, and what “if” scenarios in an effort to get around what it says. But that’s just human pride, because, if it doesn’t make sense to me, then I’m not gonna do it. But that’s not the spirit of trusting in the Lord with all of your heart, it is the spirit of leaning on my own human wisdom, reasoning, and understanding – the spirit of pride. And this is precisely the mistake you are making with this issue regarding bishops. You may think you’re not, and you may say you’re not, and give all sorts of reasons why you’re not, but you are – whether you believe it or not!

      54. Was St.Paul violating the word of God when he allowed gentiles to eat meat sacrificed unto idols bought at the meat market, (if they knew idols were nothing and gave thanks for it)? This was after StJames, bishop of Jerusalem gave his judgement that gentiles must be forbidden to eat meat sacrificed unto idols, with no qualifying statements. Is this a contradiction, a violation.

      55. The Scriptures do not tell the life story of all of the Apostles till their death. You are right I do not believe in scripture alone, because scripture alone is impossible.

        I do believe Acts 20, just not how you interpret it i.e that church means a self contained, Stand alone, independent congregation with elders that are just picked..

        They were always united with other congregations under either an Apostle or a Bishop in Apostolic Sucession. The Elders/must have had the laying on of hands from an Apostle or a bishop in Apostolic sucession to have the ability to function sacramentally and have authority from Christ to administer the sacraments.. Even Paul himself received this sacrament of Holy Orders in Acts 13. It was grace given to him to minister as a priest the Gospel of God. Romans 15:16 ( some translations dishonestly leave out the priestly part, which is definitely there in the Greek and shows it is a special grace given and not as something automatic by virtue of being a Christian. Other scriptures show the grace given by laying on of hands in Titus and Timothy) He had to receive holy orders before he could ordain others himself.

      56. It is admitted that early in the apostolic era, the terms episcopos and presybeteros. That does not mean that they are always one and the same, especially as the Apostles handed on their Episcopal Authority to chosen successors in their bishopric and these consecrated new Bishops as the Church grew and presbyters were ordained as well to be delegates of the bishop.

        History shows it universally following that pattern. This happened right away too.

        The idea that the Church was like what you see in a congregational Presbyterian type of church government is a myth. Even when there was several presbyters in a congregation, they were still under the Apostle as the Shepherd and Overseer and they were allotted a share of that flock to tend. (They needed more presbyters to serve in the surrounding house churches).

      57. It’s a pity that much of what you are saying is not backed up in scripture, therefore you are left appealing to tradition. Now when you say that the apostles passed on Episcopal authority to successors, are you referring to what are known as Patriarchs?

      58. No I do not mean Patriarch. One is not ordained to be a patriarch. That is an appointment, not an Ordination. I have shared scripture with you. It is disingenuous to make out that it is tradition or history alone. Rather it is all three i.e scripture , history, and tradition, showing the same truth. Presbyterians just takes advantage of the linquistics of “elder”and “overseer” being interchangeable terms at first, and ignoring the historical context and the presense of the Apostles are Shepherds which I will explain.

        First the Apostles( who are the First Bishops i.e Guardians/ Formal Overseers/Shepherds of the Church) ordained assistants called deacons. Later they ordained presbyters/elders to oversee congregations or house churches as they formed( hence “elder” and “overseer” were terms used interchangeably) under their Guardianship and celebrate the Eucharist and other sacraments.

        These presbyters are alloted a share of the Lord’s flock to tend. The Presbyters are extensions of the Bishop and serve in individual congregations called parishes. Informally these parishes are still called “churches” because they are assemblies or gatherings. This district of parishes is called a diocese.

        Then the Apostles ordain more Bishops to continue their role in the world as the Formal Shepherds and Guardians of the Church and to perpetuate the Church and hand on the Ministerial Priesty Authority, they themselves received from Christ.

        Then Bishops continue the process again by ordaining deacons to assist them. Then the ordain some of these deacons to become priests to serve new congregations and as the Church grows then they must consecrate more priests to become Bishops. To do this, they have two other Bishops participate in the consecration with them. And more diocese are formed…and the process repeats itself.

        http://ww1.antiochian.org/Orthodox_Church_Who_What_Where_Why/What_Is_A_Bishop_Priest_Deacon.htm

      59. Dn John you wrote:
        “It is disingenuous to make out that it is tradition or history alone. Rather it is all three i.e scripture , history, and tradition, showing the same truth.”

        Response:
        I did say that you were using scripture, but that you were reading into them – twisting them to conform to your tradition and to your use of the fathers. I said basically that you were negating the commandments of God for the sake of your tradition, the commandments of men.

        I’ve read through the article you pointed me to and it has the same issue. Part of the problem is your erroneous definition of words and separation of offices, which then play into an erroneous interpretation of scripture. For example, you define ‘Presbuteros’ simply as priest in the article, but elder in your post, and then make a separation in the office of elder and bishop as if they are two different men. But when we look at scripture it teaches us that – elder, overseer/bishop, and shepherd – all refer to the same man.

        Three different Greek words describe the same function. These words are used in Acts 20:17,28.

        Acts 20:17 -“From Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called for the elders [presbyteros] of the church.”
        Acts 20:28 -“Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers [episkopos], to shepherd [poimainō] the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.”

        So we can see above, that elders are clearly the overseers and shepherds of the flock.

        Consequently, when we look at the Greek below, we see that the terms elder, overseer, bishop, and shepherd all refer to the same man.

        v.17 – Presbuteros –KJV(elders) –ASV(elders) –NASB(elders)

        v.28 – Episcopos –KJV(overseers) –ASV(bishops) –NASB(overseers)

        v.28 – Poimaino –KJV(to feed) –ASV(to feed) –NASB(to shepherd)

        Hence, you are no longer adhering to the apostolic teaching of Paul in Acts 20:17,28.

        It’s about as simple as that!

      60. Neither is the word Trinity, yet I presume we both agree that the scriptures teaches such.

      61. Proving that like Sola Scriptural, just because you don’t see that specific term in scripture, does not mean that it’s not taught in principle.

      62. It is not taught even in principle. All of the Sola’s of the reformation are misleading. Scripture cannot be alone; it must be interpreted.

      63. You mean, ‘it must be interpreted FOR you by the clergy’! No thanks!! Being there, done that, was told to wear the T-shirt.🙄 Not gonna do it anymore.😁

      64. Aidan,

        Paul was already an apostle by Jesus Christ (and thus automatically called to be a Bishop) when he was ordained at Antioch. I believe that what he received was the grace of the priesthood through the laying on of hands…just as the Apostles had received their priesthood from Christ. Before that Paul preached locally as a herald of the Gospel but needed the priesthood to fully exercise the ministry. Then having received that ordination, he set out for his first missionary journey.

      65. There is no mention of priesthood or bishops in Acts 13. Paul and Barnabas were summoned and sent forth by the Holy Spirit to the work to which He had called them. That work was the first missionary journey of the gospel to the Gentile world. You need to stop reading your biased human traditions into the text of Scripture.

      66. Aidan, Paul does the same things that the other Apostles were specifically ordained by Christ to do and they are of a priestly nature. St. Paul forgives sins in the presense of Christ…something Christ gave only to the Apostles through a gifting of the Holy Spirit.

        Here are the references.

        2 Corinthians 2

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        2 Corinthians 2

        2 Corinthians 2

        RSV
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        1 For I made up my mind not to make you another painful visit. 2 For if I cause you pain, who is there to make me glad but the one whom I have pained? 3 And I wrote as I did, so that when I came I might not suffer pain from those who should have made me rejoice, for I felt sure of all of you, that my joy would be the joy of you all. 4 For I wrote you out of much affliction and anguish of heart and with many tears, not to cause you pain but to let you know the abundant love that I have for you. 5 But if any one has caused pain, he has caused it not to me, but in some measure–not to put it too severely–to you all. 6 For such a one this punishment by the majority is enough; 7 so you should rather turn to forgive and comfort him, or he may be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 So I beg you to reaffirm your love for him. 9 For this is why I wrote, that I might test you and know whether you are obedient in everything. 10 Any one whom you forgive, I also forgive. What I have forgiven, if I have forgiven anything, has been for your sake in the presence( person KJV) of Christ,

        John 20 RSV

        On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I send you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.”
        —-‐———
        Paul was also given the authority to offer the Eucharistic offering which the Lord had given only to the 12 in the upper room. This grace was given him in the laying onof hands.

        1 Corinthians 11 RSV

        For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we should not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

        —————

        The Holy Spirit speaks right in the midst of the Divine liturgy. The time when presbyters are ordained to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice as priests. It is a liturgical function they are being set apart for. Priesthood. Paul was already an apostle. He did not need an ordination to go on a journey just to preach.

        Acts 13 NASB1977

        1Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2And while they were ministering (GR. LEITOUGOS. Where we get the word liturgy from) to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

        THEY “LITURGIZED” TO THE LORD. THIS IS A PRIESTLY ACT. The Lord called them for priesthood in the midst of the Divine Liturgy. There is therefore good reason for me to believe this was an ordination to the fullness of the priesthood so that he is no less than the other Apostles and Bishops.

        3011. leitourgos ►
        Thayer’s Greek Lexicon
        STRONGS NT 3011: λειτουργός

        2. universally, a minister, servant: so of military laborers, often in Polybius; of the servants of a king, 1 Esdr. 10:5; Sir. 10:2; (of Joshua, Joshua 1:1 Alex.; universally, 2 Samuel 13:18 (cf. 2 Samuel 13:17)); of the servants of the priests, joined with ὑπηρέται, Dionysius Halicarnassus, Antiquities 2, 73; τῶν ἁγίων, OF THE TEMPLE, i. e. ONE BUSIED WITH HOLY THINGS, OF A PRIEST, HEBREWS 8:2, cf. (Philo, alleg. leg. iii. § 46); Nehemiah 10:39; Sir. 7:30; τῶν θεῶν, of heathen priests, Dionysius Halicarnassus 2, 22 cf. 73; Plutarch, mor., p. 417 a.; Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, of PAUL LIKENING HIMSELF TO A PRIEST, Romans 15:16; plural τοῦ Θεοῦ, those by whom God administers his affairs and executes his decrees: so of magistrates, Romans 13:6; of angels, Hebrews 1:7 from Psalm 103:4 () (cf. Philo de caritat. § 3); τῆς χάριτος τοῦ Θεοῦ, those whose ministry the grace of God made use of for proclaiming to men the necessity of repentance, as Noah, Jonah: Clement of Rome, 1 Cor. 8, 1 [ET] cf. c. 7 [ET]; τόν ἀπόστολον καί λειτουργόν ὑμῶν τῆς χρείας μου, by whom ye have sent to me those things which may minister to my needs, Philippians 2:25.

        You are blind to your own bias…

      67. In 2 Corinthians, the whole church was to forgive that man, not just Paul. In John 20 the apostles fulfilled that in Acts 2 when they, by the Holy Spirit, laid down the conditions for forgiveness of sins. They never actually had legislative authority. You are reading too much into Acts 13. We are all blind to our biased, none more so than those blinded by their traditions.

      68. Historically, confession was done to the whole community and the Bishop would forgive in the name of Christ and on behalf of the Church and readmit them to Holy Communion. He is wanting the whole congregation to forgive him as well and to be merciful.Even today, confession is done in the midst of the church but quietly in the hearing of only the priest. There is no anonymous confession in a booth with a screen like in Rome.

      69. You mean bishops plural, not bishop singular. In the early church there was always a plurality of elders overseeing the congregation, never just one bishop. This probably helped to keep checks and balances in preventing the corruption of the church by not allowing any one man get carried away by too much power – kinda like a mini-pope, if you like.

        As far as the whole church forgiving him? You need to read Matthew 18 to get a good picture of what that might look like in New Testament times.

        Matthew 18:17 –“And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church. But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”

        One who refuses to repent is no longer to be embraced in fellowship until he turns from his sin and repents. But when he does, he equally needs to feel the warm embrace of the congregation back into the fellowship. This is not a pleasant or easy subject to discuss, or to have to deal with, but is sometimes necessary for the sake of saving souls, and protecting the church from being corrupted with sin. As Paul says, ‘a little leaven, leavens the whole lump’. Too many churches are destroyed in this way!

      70. Excuse me! I never followed a Campbell in my life! I stopped following men long ago, when I stopped following the traditions of men like the Catholic/Orthodox Church. On the other hand, Paul said, ‘imitate me as I imitate Christ’. Now, THAT, is always a good thing.😉

      71. St. Lucius of Cyrene was first Bishop of Cyrene. So it is fitting that he would be leading the Liturgy of the Lord and also fitting that as a Bishop he was there to ordain Saul, who then became Paul. Many have a change of name in their ordination to this day.

      72. Sorry, I shouldn’t have used the word crazy! From my perspective, my frustration was at the sheer amount of clear false statements that I saw coming my way. Again, I’m speaking from my perspective. I was not trying to call you crazy. I never liked the tactics of those who demean and make personal attacks in arguments, because it’s so unnecessary and it’s a bullying tactic. So, again, I’m sorry for using the word crazy.

      73. Dn John,

        Where do you find the term Archbishop in the Bible? You have just about as much scriptural authority for an Archbishop as the Catholics have for a Pope. Neither of them are found in the scriptures, or in the early church. Men whom you title as “Patriarch” and “Your Eminence” and your “All Holiness” and “Reverent father” “Most Reverent Bishop” and some who sit on thrones etc., great positions of power with religious titles and false humility; Jesus forbade such things as this.

        Matthew 23:5-12
        “But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments. 6 They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 7 greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ 8 But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ. 11 But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

      74. You mean like, ” Most Excellent” Theophilus” Luke 1:3 or Brethren and “Fathers” Acts 7:1. 22:1. Or I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel 1 Corinthians 4:14. ?

      75. You mean like “Most Excellent” Theophilus, which title was dropped when Luke wrote Acts, indicating that he may have become a Christian by then. And besides, your comments have nothing to do with the context of Matthew 23.

  16. Dn John,

    The qualifications for the 12 apostles also negates there being successors today. First of all, it came through a divine call — “not from men, neither through men” (Gal. 1:1). Secondly, you would personally have to have been a witness of Christ’s resurrection, had seen the Lord, (Acts 1:21-22; 1 Cor. 9:1; 15:5-8; Acts 26:16). This forbids there being “successors” to the apostles. Then there’s inspiration (Luke 24:47-49; Acts 1:8; 1 Cor. 2:10-13; Gal. 1:12). Miraculous power, (Acts 2:43; Heb. 2:4; Rom.15:18,19; Rev. 2:2; 1 Cor. 12:12). And then there’s speaking in tongues, (Acts 2:4; 1 Cor. 14:18). That’s why no others can be qualified for the work of an apostle.

    1. Hi Aidan,,

      Hierarchical Bishops are less than apostles in authority and position but more than simple presbyters i.e ( what we would term parish priests) They have the fullness of the priesthood and other presbyters have a share of that priesthood calling. Hierarchical Bishops are like Apostles in the limited sense of the duties that go with overseeing a group of united congregations under their shepherding.

      We see some of these duties in the epistles to Timothy and Titus. Here are some examples: Timothy is in charge of clergy commendation and discipline ( 1 Timothy 5:17-22), and ordination( 1 Timothy 3) . Bishops are in charge of setting things straight in multiple congregations and ordaining priests(presbyters) (and deacons) [Titus 1:5].

      1. Dn John,… in the NT bishops and prsesbyters are one and the same. In the NT every Christian is a priest with no special class or ranking system as laity, clergy, bishop, archbishop, patriarch, I’m sure I must have missed a few. In local the local church government, the elders had oversight rule and the deacons served under them. All of the members of the congregation in each local church were to submit to the elders. Each local church was autonomous and not under the oversight of any other church or motherchurch. Bishops/elders only had jurisdiction over their own congregation. To maintain their equality and independence, when churches cooperated it was always concurrent in nature.

      2. What you are doing, Aidan, it seems to me, is taking your private interpretation of scriptures and surmising that history must have happened that way, instead of doing historically research and finding out how it actually happened.

        None of the early Christian churches believed that one had to be a married man to be a Presbyter, but IF married then what Paul wrote was applicable about it being with one wife…because it was about moral character, not an arbitrary rule.

        We know that John never married and that he was the Bishop of Ephesus. There were other elders in Ephesus but John was the Presyter/Bishop “OF” Ephesus. He was the Heirarch. That is why he calls himself The Presbyter..because he was the Priest in Charge i.e the Bishop.

        I can say maybe he was just calling himself ” the old man” in 2nd and 3rd John but based on what we have in historical proof, I believe what I am saying is more probable. But this literary introduction in his two epistles is not a point to argue about or not a “dogmatic” issue as you say.

      3. Dn John,

        First of all, I don’t think you realize that the NT documents ARE historical research, that they are the INSPIRED RECORD. And if I want to find out how it actually happened, I go to the source.

        Jesus said, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. AND YOU SHALL KNOW THE TRUTH, and the truth shall make you free” (John 8:31-32).

        Peter said: “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence” (2 Pt. 1:3).

        Secondly, ALL of the early Christian churches believed that one had to be a married man to be a Presbyter(elder) the bishop/shepherd. Because Paul didn’t say “if,” but rather, he MUST be the husband of one wife (1 Tim. 3:2; Titus 1:6). Yes, the qualifications Paul gives involve moral character, but they are not optional. I’ll trust the inspired writers any day over those outside the inspired record.

        In fact they warned us that one of the signs of the apostasy concerned those who would later forbid marriage. I think the fact that you don’t allow your bishops to marry (and I include the Catholic Church in this too) is proof positive that this happened.

        1 Timothy 4:1-3 NASB
        “But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, WHO FORBID MARRIAGE and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.”

      4. First of all, the church does not forbid marriage. However, Jesus says a person can abstain from marriage for the sake of the Kingdom of heaven. That is a voluntary choice. If the Church wants to choose these men as Heirarchs who have abstained from marriage for the kingdom’s sake, there is every right to do so.

        Matthew 19:12
        10The disciples said to him, “If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry.” 11But he said to them, “Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. 12For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it.”

        Your interpretation about one having to be married to be a bishop is universally rejected by the Church. It is just like the scribes, legalistic and arbitrary. I Corinthians 7 refutes your understanding of what Paul meant.

      5. Yes the orthodox does forbid marriage in certain areas. Deacons and Priests cannot marry AFTER ordination. And Bishops are only selected from among the unmarried clergy or widowed priests. Is this not forbidding to marry?

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