Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Intercessory Prayers to the Departed Church Fathers: Are they silent or not?

Intercessory Prayers to the Departed Church Fathers: Are they silent or not?

By Ajay Abraham Kuriakose

Introduction

In this age of new doctrines, we faithful are often confronted with the question, why do you pray Intercessory prayers? Your immediate answer, I believe it will help a sinner like me to obtain mercy

The attacker now uses a technique wherein:

1) He shows that your belief itself is flawed. 2) That it is without Christian foundation.

Your reply: my church people have been doing this for centuries. Now they will attack the church fathers saying that these kinds of faith are not Biblical and that nothing outside the Bible is Christian.

In this final step many of us fall not because they are right but because we have never tried to study the bible properly ourselves. I shall try to point out as many Biblical parts in order to show that Praying for the dead is indeed in line with the BIBLE.

All of our traditions and prayers for the dead are based on the teachings of Christ and his apostles who spoke in the power of the HOLY SPIRIT.

Ephesians ch1. v20: having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief corner stone..

One of the primary verses with which these people attack us is: Psalms115 v17. This verse has become so widely used that most of us have heard this several times by now. The dead do not praise the LORD, NOR any who go down into silence.

We never have an answer to this because we never bother to check this up, let alone hold the Bible when discussing Biblical topics.

Read the next verse, because its obvious the psalmist isn’t talking about himself in v17; V18: But we will bless the LORD From this time forth forevermore. Praise the LORD! The psalmist knew that he would die. Then what did he mean when he said he would in contrast to the wicked mentioned in v17 bless the LORD forever.

Explained below in the psalmist’s own words is the explanation of who he meant to be in silence. I will start with the psalmist’s prayer in Psalms 26 V9: do not gather my soul together with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men.

These words were in perfect concordance with Jesus who taught where the souls of Abraham, Lazarus and other faithful were in difference to the gathered souls of the rich man and other wicked. (Check it up in Luke ch.16)

Again the psalmist tells us what he meant in ch115 v17, through the following psalms Psalms 30 V3: O Lord you have bought my soul up from the grave; you have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit. If the pit is a place where David is not going, then neither is it the place where Abraham is nor the resting place of the faithful. Do you think I am exaggerating the psalmist’s words?

He speaks for himself v9. of the same psalms Verse 9: What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth?

If the psalmist was to bless his Lord forever he certainly could not be gathered with those in the pit . I hope u understand when he says O Lord you have bought my soul up from the grave; you have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

Also he reaffirms that his soul is not silent at any point in verse 12. Psalms 30 Verse 12: To the end that my glory may sing praise to You And not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Now observe the prayer of the psalmist in the very next Psalms; Psalms 31 Verse 17: Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord, for I have called upon You; Let the wicked be ashamed; Let them be silent in the grave,

Verse 18: Let lying lips be put to silence, Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

I suppose it is now clear as to who the silent are & who can not praise the Lord when they r dead. Also crystal clear is that the faithful souls are constantly praising the Lord and hence in constant communication with Him.

The psalmist doesn’t stop here… Psalms 94 Verse13: That You may give him rest from the days of adversity, Until the pit is dug for the wicked.

NOTE: the days of adversity refers to the last days of torment when the faithful souls will be given rest unlike the torment of the wicked.

Verse 17: Unless the Lord had been my help, My soul would soon have settled in silence.

Also Psalms 49v15 Verse 15: But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me.

This is in line with what Jesus spoke of what happens to the dead, some are received; others suffer as in Psalm 49 verse14 (kindly read it also Luke ch.16.)

The Wicked

The Righteous Faithful

Psalms 115 verse17: The dead do not praise the LORD, NOR any who go down into silence.

Psalms 115 verse18: But we will bless the LORD From this time forth forevermore. Praise the LORD!

Psalms 26 V9: do not gather my soul together with sinners, nor my life with bloodthirsty men

Psalms 30 V3: O Lord you have bought my soul up from the grave; you have kept me alive, that I should not go down to the pit.

Verse 9: What profit is there in my blood, When I go down to the pit? Will the dust praise You? Will it declare Your truth?

Psalms 30 Verse 12: To the end that my glory may sing praise to You And not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.

Psalms 31 Verse 17: Do not let me be ashamed, O Lord, for I have called upon You; Let the wicked be ashamed; Let them be silent in the grave,

Verse 18: Let lying lips be put to silence, Which speak insolent things proudly and contemptuously against the righteous.

Psalms 94 Verse13: That You may give him rest from the days of adversity, Until the pit is dug for the wicked.

Verse 17: Unless the Lord had been my help, My soul would soon have settled in silence.

Psalms 49 Verse 15: But God will redeem my soul from the power of the grave, For He shall receive me.

From the above I hope it is clear beyond any doubt that the faithfully departed ones (souls) are constantly in His presence.

Hebrews ch12 Verse 1: Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, …

It is because of this that we believe that they participate in the Holy Qurbana along with us. In fact some blessed church fathers have seen with divine eyesight the presence of these souls in the Church where we all come to commune.

source: http://www.socdigest.org/articles/03nov05.html

No comments:

Monastery of the Holy Martyrs - Orthodox Monastery, Syriac Orthodox

 Have you stopped the monastery's new web site?  Come on by and visit, either on line or in person.  I love meeting new folks and make n...