- --- In firstname.lastname@example.org, F Taylor <ftaylor1960@...> wrote:
>I think Revelations is quite clear. The incense the saints brought before God symbolizes the prayers of the Christians. It was the saints that brought those prayers to God. The angels in Heaven pray to God as well and we see the symbol of their prayers intermingling with the prayers of Christians that the saints brought before God.
> >>Have you ever asked anyone to pray for you? It's the same idea.
> Ummmm, not really.Â That's kind of comparing apples and oranges.
> In every example given, the Bible is talking about living people talking to living people, and living peopleÂ praying to God.Â The one exception is the revelations passage, and it could certainly be argued that Revelations is full of allegory, symbollism and the attempts of a person to describe the indescribable.Â There is absolutely nothing to suggest that the "holy ones" were dead people praying in response to anything they heard from living people.Â I don't doubt that saints who went to heaven are able to pray, but there's nothing I've ever seen in the Bible to suggest that God allows them to monitor what goes on in the land of the living or gives them the power to read our minds.
(Rev 8:3-4) Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a gold censer. He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold altar that was before the throne. The smoke of the incense along with the prayers of the holy ones went up before God from the hand of the angel.
In multiple Psalms, David prays to all God's creatures, including those in Heaven.
Both Moses and Elijah appeared to Jesus and both were quite alive. I think possibly a difference between us is that Catholics don't view the souls in Heaven as dead.
(Mark 12:26) As for the dead being raised, have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the passage about the bush, how God told him, 'I am the God of Abraham, (the) God of Isaac, and (the) God of Jacob'? He is not God of the dead but of the living. You are greatly misled."
>A prayer is a conversation or request to God or Angels and Saints.
> What is the different between prayer and conversation?
1. a devout petition to God or an object of worship.
2. a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession.
3. the act or practice of praying to God or an object of worship.
4. a formula or sequence of words used in or appointed for praying: the Lord's Prayer.
5. prayers, a religious observance, either public or private, consisting wholly or mainly of prayer.
> And yet, that's exactly what Christ told us to do.Â He even told us how to pray.Â To God.Â Directly.Â God loves us.Â When you love someone you want to hear from them face to face, not second-hand through someone else.Nothing is wrong with praying directly to God, but there certainly isn't anything unbiblical to asking angels and saints for their intercession.
- That Christ *could* relay messages if He chose, I have no doubt. But that He chooses to do so...no. I see no evidence in the Bible that Christ makes himself available to carry messages for people, living or dead. He certainly conveys the messages of God the Father, but to assume that He relays prayer requests from one person to the other, just so that the second person can relay to Christ or God a prayer that He had to have already heard (having carried it himself)...what an awkward, bureaucratic system that sounds to be. Not to mention a touch insulting...assuming that we can rely on our Savior to act as our messenger boy.>Robin:
>That's not quite how I was picturing it either. In any case though we know that the last will be first and>the lowest will be greatest (Luke 22:27). Who is the lowest in your picture?I see what you are saying, Robin. Carrying our messages would be serving us. Still, that doesn't change the fact that just because He *could* do so doesn't prove that He does. And what would be the point of Jesus listening to our prayers and then relaying them to saints so that they could give them back to Him? If He hears them he's already heard them. Is it your assertion that he is going to give these prayers more weight because they were directed to saints instead of directly to God?You can test the theory yourself. Pray to a brother or sister in a far distant place, and then find out later if Christ conveyed the message. Assuming that the message has not been conveyed (and that would be my assumption), to explain it by saying that the Lord only relays prayer requests from live people to dead ones...oh, and only ones who have been declared as Catholic Saints...that sounds as if you are making up rules in order to to prove something that we might wish were true but isn't necessarily.>Robin:
>I will not put the Lord our God to the test (Mat 4:7).Good answer :) And so true. But then you are arguing against praying to the saints...it's the same thing. You are asking someone who is not physically present to pray for you and expecting that Jesus will relay the message. How can the one be putting the Lord to the test and the other not?>But can the 'dead' hear our prayers? I would have to say yes. Not only from the fact that God wants us>to help each other but to know when someone needs help we need to be aware of what is happening.>The members of the Body of Christ who are already in heaven either know of the happenings on earth> through simply witnessing it for themselves (Heb 11 along with Heb 12:1) or from receiving the>prayers of those on earth asking for intercession (Rev 5:8).I couldn't see anything in Hebrews 11 or 12 that suggests to me that members in heaven are aware of doings on earth. Can you be more specific? That would be an important passage to consider.>Robin:
>These 'witnesses' are the OT saints (read chapter 11 to see). The fact that they WITNESS things>happening on earth tells us that they are aware of what is happening on earth.I'm sorry, I've read Hebrews 11 through from start to finish three times and then in several translations including the one from the catholic version, but I still don't see any mention of saints who are hearing things happening on earth. It talks about all the people in the OT who obeyed God by virtue of their faith, and what they suffered and accomplished, but no mention of anything that happened to them after they died, other than that God had prepared a city for them.>In Rev 5:8 we see 24 elders holding bowls of incense which are the prayers of the saints, ie the>members of the Body of Christ. These elders know the prayers of those on earth and can therefore>offer there own prayers when they offer them up to God.This passage's details sounds symbolic, as is much of Revelations. I'd be inclined to believe the elders represent 24 groups, and perhaps the creatures as well.>>Robin:
>>The principal remains. Elders handed over the prayers of those on earth to the Lord. They interceded for>>them which is what we Catholics do when we 'pray' to saints. We ask them to pray with us and for us.But even if they aren't symbolic groups and the writer of this passage was seeing a vision of actual people in the presence of God, the elders are merely holding bowls of Christian prayers, and are offering their praises to God. There is nothing to suggest that their praises or prayers were being shaped by the content of the prayers in their bowls.>Robin:
>Prayers are not something we can physically hold on to. Therefore, for the elders in heaven to hand over> the prayers of those on earth to the Lord means that they would have to be AWARE of what those prayers>actually were and then hand those over to the Lord in the form of prayers from them to the Lord. That's>basically what we do when I would ask you to pray for my well being during a difficult time. You are>made aware of my predicament and then procede to pray for my well being.But they don't hand them over. They just "hold" them. In a bowl. If prayers aren't something that can physically be held they certainly can't be held in a bowl. It's symbolic.(And as an aside, even if they did hand them over that wouldn't guarantee that they knew anything about what they were "made" of. I could hold a package, and hand it over to someone else without being aware of the contents or its composition. Or adding to it.)The bowls are filled with incense which is peoples' prayers. The vision seen by the writer was trying to convey that the prayers of God's people are pleasing to him (the "scent" of them being sweet to his senses). It could be that the elders represent 24 specific groups of people, be they ethnic or locational or ideological groups, and the bowls represent all the prayers that these groups of people have prayed in their lifetimes. If these elders had been meant to represent all the Saints they would have been described as hundreds, or a multitude, not just 24 "people".