Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Climbing the ladder of rational belief: second rung

We have already established that the Bible is not only reliable, but that it is also of divine origin.

The second rung of the ladder is to know how to accurately interpret the Bible, that is to accurately gauge the message contained therein, and only one institution has ever been established who can do so. That is the Holy Catholic Church, which the Bible itself points to.

In the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus founds His Church upon St. Peter, as is clear from many passages, not the least of which are the following:

St. Matthew 16:18-19: "And I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."

Jesus, in very specific language, gives St. Peter the authority to bind and loose, that is, to exercise such a powerful authority on earth that when he does so, his effects of his actions will translate even to heaven. Jesus also clearly admonishes his followers to heed the church's judgement.

St. Matthew 18:17: "And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and publican."

Though the Bible does not explicitly state that St. Peter was the bishop of Rome, the writings of Early Church Fathers make it clear this was the case. The Bible does, however, lay out clear irrefutable evidence that St. Peter was the first supreme Pontiff over the church, the head bishop of the Church, the Pope, which means father. He was appointed by Christ as the spiritual Father over His Church on earth.

Before we go any further, many Protestants will object here, citing the following verse as proof that this is an unbiblical doctrine:

St. Matthew 23:9: "And call none your father upon earth; for one is your father, who is in heaven."

The problem with their false claim, however is that there are numerous examples in the New Testament of the term 'father' being used as a form of address and reference, even for men who are not biologically related to the speaker. There are, in fact, so many uses of "father" in the New Testament, that the Fundamentalist interpretation of Matthew 23 (and the objection to Catholics calling priests 'father') must be wrong, as we shall see from a few quick examples.

St. Paul regularly referred to Timothy as his child: "Therefore I sent to you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ" (1 Cor. 4:17); "To Timothy, my true child in the faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord" (1 Tim. 1:2); "To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord" (2 Tim. 1:2).

He also referred to Timothy as his son: "This charge I commit to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophetic utterances which pointed to you, that inspired by them you may wage the good warfare" (1 Tim 1:18); "You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 2:1); "But Timothy’s worth you know, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel" (Phil. 2:22).

St. Paul also referred to other of his converts in this way: "To Titus, my true child in a common faith: grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior" (Titus 1:4); "I appeal to you for my child, Onesimus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment" (Philem. 10). None of these men were St. Paul’s literal, biological sons. Rather, St. Paul is emphasizing his spiritual fatherhood with them.

So what did Jesus mean? Jesus criticized Jewish leaders who love "the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues, and salutations in the market places, and being called ‘rabbi’ by men" (Matt. 23:6–7). His admonition here is a response to the Pharisees’ proud hearts and their grasping after marks of status and prestige.

He was using hyperbole (exaggeration to make a point) to show the scribes and Pharisees how sinful and proud they were for not looking humbly to God as the source of all authority and fatherhood and teaching, and instead setting themselves up as the ultimate authorities, father figures, and teachers.

Christ used hyperbole often, for example when he declared, "If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and throw it away; it is better that you lose one of your members than that your whole body be thrown into hell" (Matt. 5:29, cf. 18:9; Mark 9:47). Christ certainly did not intend this to be applied literally, for otherwise all Christians would be blind amputees! (cf. 1 John 1:8; 1 Tim. 1:15). We are all subject to "the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life" (1 John 2:16).

Since Jesus is demonstrably using hyperbole when he says not to call anyone our father—else we would not be able to refer to our earthly fathers as such—we must read his words carefully and with sensitivity to the presence of hyperbole if we wish to understand what he is saying.

As the apostolic example shows, some individuals genuinely do have a spiritual fatherhood, meaning that they can be referred to as spiritual fathers. What must not be done is to confuse their form of spiritual paternity with that of God. Ultimately, God is our supreme protector, provider, and instructor. Correspondingly, it is wrong to view any individual other than God as having these roles.

Now that we have overcome this clearly illogical objection of the Protestants, we will move on and see that the first Pope was given the gift of an unfailing faith, or infallibility.

St. Luke 22:31-32: "And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat: But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and thou, being once converted, confirm thy brethren."

This does not mean that St. Peter was perfect, could not sin and could not make mistakes, but it meant that when he spoke on a matter of faith and morals with the intention of binding all Christians to obedience, then in such a case he was protected from making any error against the faith.

Finally, after St. Peter's three denials of the Lord, he was three times confirmed in his supremacy over the whole of Christ's flock, the Church, by Jesus Christ Himself.

St. John 21:15-17: "When therefore they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter: Simon son of John, lovest thou me more than these? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. 16 He saith to him again: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? He saith to him: Yea, Lord, thou knowest that I love thee. He saith to him: Feed my lambs. He said to him the third time: Simon, son of John, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved, because he had said to him the third time: Lovest thou me? And he said to him: Lord, thou knowest all things: thou knowest that I love thee. He said to him: Feed my sheep."

Other clear proof that He Who inspired the authors of Scripture intended for St. Peter to be the supreme head of the Church is as follows:

St. Peter's name is always the first when the Apostles are listed (St. Matthew 10:2-4, St. Mark 3:16-19, St. Luke 6:14-16, Acts of the Apostles 1:13).

St. Peter is always singled when the Apostles are mentioned together as a group (St. Mark 16:7, St. Luke 9:32).

St. Peter spoke for all the Apostles (St. Matthew 18:21, St. Mark 8:29, St. Luke 8:45, 12:41, St. John 6:69)

St. Peter's name occurs around 200 times in the New Testament, more than all the other Apostles combined. There is a very good reason why God inspired the New Testament writers to always place the name of St. Peter first among them, and Judas' name last. It is because St. Peter, and those who would succeed him, was given the position of highest authority in the Church next to Christ, by Christ Himself.

The Church described in the Bible consists of a visible hierarchy of bishops, who are the Apostles and their successors, and this is consonant with the Holy Catholic Church. This is because the Church of the Bible and the Holy Catholic Church are one and the same Church.

Let's start with Judas, since he was the first of the Apostles to die and need to be replaced.

Acts Of Apostles 1:16-17, 20, 26: "Men, brethren, the scripture must needs be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who was the leader of them that apprehended Jesus: Who was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry... For it is written in the book of Psalms: Let their habitation become desolate, and let there be none to dwell therein. And his bishopric let another take... And they gave them lots, and the lot fell upon Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."

So we see that to be "numbered with the eleven Apostles" was to be counted as taking over the bishopric of Judas. There are a few other quotes in the Bible which make specific mention of the office of bishop:

Acts Of Apostles 20:28: "Take heed to yourselves, and to the whole flock, wherein the Holy Ghost hath placed you bishops, to rule the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood."

Philippians 1:1: "Paul and Timothy, the servants of Jesus Christ; to all the saints in Christ Jesus, who are at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons."

1 Timothy 3:1: "A faithful saying: if a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work."

Titus 1:7: "For a bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God: not proud, not subject to anger, not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre:"

1 St. Peter 2:25: "For you were as sheep going astray; but you are now converted to the shepherd and bishop of your souls."

The reason that this hierarchy of bishops is so important to the Church of Christ is twofold:

First, the Apostles and their successors, being the men appointed by Christ to carry out His mission of evangelizing and teaching the world (St. Matthew 28:19-20), were given authority to establish certain disciplines in order to foster piety, and to teach doctrines which Jesus did not fully expound publicly, but rather only revealed in their fullness to the Apostles themselves, and the Bible shows this to be so.

John 21:25: "But there are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written."

The Apostle St. John is here telling us that what Jesus did is not wholly contained in Scripture alone. This is important because there are doctrines which are revealed more fully revealed through the exposition of the traditions of the Apostles.

2 Thessalonians 2:14: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast; and hold the traditions which you have learned, whether by word, or by our epistle."

2 Thessalonians 3:6: "And we charge you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw yourselves from every brother walking disorderly, and not according to the tradition which they have received of us."

St. Paul was so insistent on adherence to the tradition of the Apostles, that he exhorted the people to avoid any who rejected it.

Second, without the successors of the Apostles, the bishops, there would be no competent guides to properly interpret the Holy Scriptures, and people would very easily be led into error. The Bible itself tells us this is so.

In talking about the letters of St. Paul, which make up a sizable portion of the New Testament in Holy Scripture, St. Peter says the following:

2 Peter 3:16: "As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction."

He is here addressing the people and warning them that it is certainly possible, even likely that those who interpret the Scriptures on their own without the guidance of the learned, will do so to their own destruction, not holding to the true meaning which the authors meant to convey. This truth is further expressed in Scripture.

Acts of the Apostles 8:29-31: "And the Spirit said to Philip: Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. And Philip running thither, heard him reading the prophet Isaias. And he said: Thinkest thou that thou understandest what thou readest? Who said: And how can I, unless some man shew me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him."

The Lord inspired the Apostle Philip to go and instruct the eunuch, who was unable to understand the Scriptures without an authoritative guide.

The only Church in the world that recognizes the supreme authority of St. Peter and his successors is the Holy Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation, nor remission of sins. It is the will of God, that all men enter His Church and worship Him as He has ordained, so that they may not perish, upon their natural death, but enter into eternal life.

Ephesians 2:19-22: "Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners; but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and the domestics of God, Built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone: In whom all the building, being framed together, groweth up into an holy temple in the Lord. In whom you also are built together into an habitation of God in the Spirit."

Climbing the ladder of rational belief: first rung

Please read also:
Defense of Scripture blog

St. Augustine, On the Harmony of the Gospels

Every journey begins with the first step so they say, but one must have a destination in mind before the first step can ever be taken. Hence it could be said that the beginning of the journey takes place when one realizes he must undertake it and so formulates a clearly defined goal of where he wants to end up.

This is more true of religion than anything, as religion (contrary to what the lives of most men would seem to suggest) is about TRUTH, not about choice. Many people seek to know the truth of religion, or so they say, but they lack a clearly defined goal. Some people say, "God, to me, is..." but they have failed to grasp an important concept about God; He is, was, and always will be, and without Him is made nothing that is made. He sustains the universe in existence and He is the absolute Truth, whence come all things.

Some would be as illogical as to deny the existence of absolute truth. If I were such a one and were to say to you: "There is not absolute truth," then you will ask: "Is that absolutely true?" If I say yes, I refute myself and if I say no, then I have given up my position. People who like to think that God is something different to everyone are denying the true nature of God as absolute Truth and will be in for a rude awakening when they meet Him after the end of their lives.

How self evident, how axiomatic is it that absolute truth itself exists? The tree that stands in my back yard is truly there. It's a birch tree to me just as much as it's a birch tree to you. If I disagree with you and say it's an oak tree, no matter how much I argue, I'm just plain wrong. If I try and say that it's an oak tree for me and you can call it a birch tree if you want to, then I am still wrong and you know it. The (absolute) truth of the matter is it's a birch tree plain and simple. The search for truth, however, must be much broader than merely seeking the truth about something planted in my back yard.

The destination that matters in the search for is to know and follow the absolute truth of God, no matter how uncomfortable or inconvenient it may seem at first.

God is He who created the universe and all things visible and invisible. People who argue that "God is something different to everyone," ignore this. If they truly acknowledged that God created everything (denial of which is untenable and carries its own logical dilemmas), then they would have to realize that He is absolute, just as the tree is absolute (how could a non-absolute create anything absolute?). The difference is that trees are incapable of communicating their absoluteness to us, but God has progressively done so throughout the whole of human history.

For anything to be worthy of the belief of a rational being, it must be reasonable and defensible with reasonable argument that is logically sound. If one really wants to know God, and to gain the reward He has promised to those who love Him, then he must climb the ladder of rational belief. Anyone can do this. The prerequisite is a sincere and humble desire to live according to right reason and due moderation, without which desire one risks never being drawn to know the one true God. One cannot make this desire come about, however, since only God can give a person the grace to seek Him. However, if you find yourself wanting to learn about God, if the thought has ever even crossed your mind, then God has given you grace. And if you have begun searching, guess what- you are responding to God's grace. He has called you to Himself and wants you to fulfill the end he created you for, He wants you to live with Him in eternity. All you have to do is continue to obey His call and His commands.

As for knowing His identity and how He wants us to live, this is where the ladder comes in. If you have never read the Bible before, or for that matter you don't even know whether or not the Bible is true, then that is the first rung on the ladder you must grab a hold of. It is not a very slippery rung, in fact it is quite easy to hold onto. Since the Bible is a compilation of some of the oldest writings now known and claims to be of divine origin, and to speak of the one true God, then would it not be a mistake to ignore it? Even if you don't believe in it, you should at least examine it's claims and see if they hold weight.

Why is this Book any different than others? Why should we trust the Bible any more than any other spiritual, religious or philosophical treatise? How can we be sure that the Bible we read today is the same collection of 73 books that were originally written, and accepted as Divinely Inspired in ancient times?

Bible profile

The Bible was completed in its entirety nearly 2,000 years ago and stands today as the best-preserved literary work of all antiquity, with over 24,000 ancient New Testament manuscripts discovered so far (compare this with the second best-preserved literary work of all antiquity, Homer's Iliad, with only 643 preserved manuscripts discovered thus far). The printing press wasn't invented until the 1450's, but we have hand-written copies of the Old Testament dating back to the 200's BC. Remarkably, these ancient manuscripts are nearly identical to the Bible we read today.

As far as the New Testament, the Bodmer Papyrus II contains most of the Gospel of John and dates from around 150-200 AD. The Chester Beatty Papyri contains major portions of the New Testament and dates back to about 200 AD. The Codex Vaticanus, the oldest complete New Testament manuscript we've discovered so far, dates from 325-350 AD. The apostle John, who lived with Jesus and learned from Jesus, penned five New Testament books and died in 100 AD. We have fragments of John's Gospel that date from 110-130 AD, within 30 years of his death. When compared to other ancient works such as Plato, Homer or Tacitus, that short time period between the original and the most recent copy is dramatic!

Pope St. Clement of Rome was martyred in 100 AD. In his writings, he quoted from the Gospels of St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke, Acts of the Apostles, 1 Corinthians, 1 St. Peter, Hebrews, and Titus. Clement's quotes totally correspond with the Bible we read today. In fact, even if we lost all of the 5,300 early Greek manuscripts, all of the 10,000 Latin Vulgates, and all of the 9,300 other ancient manuscripts, we would be able to reconstruct all but 11 verses of the New Testament from the writings of the early Church leaders who quoted from them extensively. We have over 36,000 preserved quotes from the New Testament. In a nutshell, the Bible stands today as the best-preserved literary work of all antiquity, and it's overall reliability is without question!

When it comes to Bible truth, many critics argue that the early Church deliberately corrupted the Bible's text for its own agenda. As for this argument, ask yourself one question: would a group of men who were willing to suffer terrible persecution and die horrible deaths in defense of the Scriptures be guilty of corrupting those very same Scriptures? That's lunacy! If they corrupted the Scriptures, or knowingly allowed them to be corrupted, that would mean they knowingly suffered and died for a lie!

Another argument is that it is riddled with errors or contradictions, but this also does not fly (please peruse this blog for more information).

The New Testament's martyrs either saw what they claimed to see or they didn't; plain and simple. Either they interacted with the resurrected Christ or they didn't. They certainly knew whether or not their testimony was true! Nevertheless, these men clung to their testimonies, even to their brutal deaths at the hands of their persecutors, and despite being given every chance to recant, knowing full well whether their testimony was true of false. Why would so many men knowingly die for a lie? They had nothing to gain for lying and obviously everything to lose.

The reliability of the Bible aside, there is also the unavoidable evidence that the Bible itself offers proof for its claim to be supernatural in origin time and time again in the revelation and fulfillment of prophecies with perfect accuracy, hundreds and hundreds of times over the centuries both before and after Christ, and is the only book to be able to do this. Knowing this, wouldn't you agree that it makes sense to climb to the second rung of the ladder, and learn the mysteries of God revealed the Bible, this great and wonderful gift to the human race, which points the way to the kingdom of God?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Fulfilled Bible Prophecies: Nations of the earth

A Look at 31 specific events predicted by the Bible for many nations of the earth

Daniel predicted the four great kingdoms
Bible prophecy: Daniel 2:32-33
Prophecy written: About 530 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: Throughout history

In Daniel 2:32-33, there is a prophetic passage that symbolically identified the four great kingdoms that would rise up and control much of world, beginning in Daniel's lifetime. The passage uses symbolic imagery:

1. The head of gold, as Daniel explained, refers to the Babylonian Empire that ruled much of the world about 2600 years ago.

2. Daniel said that the head-of-gold empire would be followed by an empire symbolized by arms of silver. Christian scholars have often interpreted this to refer to the Medo-Persian Empire which later conquered the Babylonian Empire. The scholars say that the two arms refer to the two groups - the Medes and the Persians - who comprised the Medo-Persian Empire.

3. The third kingdom was symbolized by the statue's belly and thighs of brass. Some scholars believe that this is a reference to the Grecian Empire, which conquered the Medo-Persian Empire. The symbol of a belly and thighs of brass suggests that the kingdom was to start out as a united empire but end up as a divided empire. Under the leadership of Alexander the Great, the Grecian Empire was a united empire. But after Alexander's death, the empire was divided up.

4. The fourth symbol - that of iron legs and feet that were part iron and part clay - has often been suggested to be a reference to the Roman Empire, which later conquered the Grecian Empire.

These four kingdoms ruled over much of the world, and each of the four ruled over the land of Israel during times in which a significant number of Jews - and perhaps a majority of Jews - were living in their homeland. Before the collapse of the Roman Empire, Jerusalem was destroyed and hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced into exile. Even today, a majority of Jews live outside of Israel.

Daniel 2:32-33: "The head of this statue was of fine gold, but the breast and the arms of silver, and the belly and the thighs of brass: And the legs of iron, the feet part of iron and part of clay."

Edom would be toppled and humbled
Bible prophecy: Jeremias 49:16-17
Prophecy written: Sometime between 626-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 100 BC

In Jeremias 49:16-17, the prophet said that Edom, a long-time enemy of Israel, would be destroyed. Edom's capital city, Petra, was carved out of a mountain side and had great natural defenses. Nonetheless, it was destroyed and the kingdom of Edom no longer exists. Today, Petra is part of Jordan. The city was conquered by the Romans in the year 106 AD but flourished again shortly after that. A rival city, Palmyra, eventually took most of the trade away from Petra and Petra began to decline. Petra gradually fell into ruin.

Jeremias 49:16-17: "Thy arrogancy hath deceived thee, and the pride of thy heart: O thou that dwellest in the clefts of the rock, and endeavourest to lay hold on the height of the hill: but though thou shouldst make thy nest as high as an eagle, I will bring thee down from thence, saith the Lord. And Edom shall be desolate: every one that shall pass by it, shall be astonished, and shall hiss at all its plagues."

Egypt would never again rule over nations
Bible prophecy: Ezechiel 29:15
Prophecy written: Between 593-571 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: Since the time of Ezechiel about 2500 years ago

In Ezechiel 29:15, the prophet says that Egypt would recover from a desolation (perhaps Babylon's attack about 2600 years ago), but that it would never again rule over other nations. Up until the time of Ezechiel, Egypt had been a world power for centuries, dominating many nations, including Israel. But for most of the past 2500 years, Egypt has been controlled by foreign powers, including the Romans, Ottomans and Europeans. Today, Egypt is again an independent nation, and it has always been an impressive nation. But since the time of Ezechiel, it no longer rules over other nations.

Ezechiel 29:14-15: "And I will bring back the captivity of Egypt, and will place them in the land of Phatures, in the land of their nativity, and they shall be there a low kingdom: It shall be the lowest among other kingdoms, and it shall no more be exalted over the nations, and I will diminish them that they shall rule no more over the nations."

The Jews would avenge the Edomites
Bible prophecy: Ezechiel 25:14
Prophecy written: Between 593-571 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 100 BC

In Ezechiel 25:14, the prophet said that the Jews would one day take vengeance on Edom, a nation that had often warred with the Jews. When Ezechiel delivered this prophecy, he and many other Jews were living as captives in Babylon. They didn't have control of their own country, let alone anyone else's. But, about 400 years later, Jews regained independence for Jerusalem and the surrounding area during the "Hasmonaean Era or Period." During this time, the Jewish priest-king John Hyrcanus I defeated the Edomites. According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Edition: "Edomite history was marked by continuous hostility and warfare with Jews… At the end of the second century B.C., they were subdued by Hasmonaean priest-king John Hyrcanus I…"

Ezechiel 25:14: "And I will lay my vengeance upon Edom by the hand of my people Israel: and they shall do in Edom according to my wrath, and my fury: and they shall know my vengeance, saith the Lord God."

God will never forget the children of Israel
Bible prophecy: Isaias 49:13-17
Prophecy written: Between 701-681 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: Throughout history

In Isaias 49:13-17, the Lord makes it clear that even though the people of Israel are to be exiled from their land, the Lord will never forget them, and the Lord would eventually bring the exiles back to their homeland.

Isaias lived about 2700 years ago. At about that time, the Assyrians invaded the northern part of the land of Israel and had forced many of the people into exile. More than a century later, the Babylonians conquered the southern part of the land of Israel, bringing an end to sovereignty, destroying Jerusalem and the Temple, and forcing people into exile.

Despite the hardships, verses 15 and 16 remind us that the Lord will never forget the people of Israel. In fact, it says that even if a mother could forget her child, the Lord would not forget his children, for they are "engraved" on the palms of his hands. And, verses 17 and 18 show that the descendants of Israel would return, as they did after the fall of the Babylonian Empire.

Isaias 49:13-17: "Give praise, O ye heavens, and rejoice, O earth, ye mountains, give praise with jubilation: because the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy on his poor ones. And Sion said: The Lord hath forsaken me, and the Lord hath forgotten me. Can a woman forget her infant, so as not to have pity on the son of her womb? and if she should forget, yet will not I forget thee. Behold, I have graven thee in my hands: thy walls are always before my eyes. Thy builders are come: they that destroy thee and make thee waste shall go out of thee."

The people of Israel will never be completely destroyed
Bible prophecy: Leviticus 26:44
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: Throughout history

In Leviticus 26:44, the Bible said that God would never allow the people of Israel to be completely destroyed.

During ancient times, 10 of the 12 Tribes of Israel were decimated by the Assyrians. And the Babylonians later persecuted what was left of the people of Israel. But, instead of assimilating or perishing, some of the people eventually returned to their homeland and recover their way of life.

The recovery was very complete, complete enough that Jerusalem again had been restored as the center of Jewish life. And the followers of Jesus were able to begin a process in Jerusalem by which Catholicism later spread throughout the world.

Leviticus 26:44: "And yet for all that when they were in the land of their enemies, I did not cast them off altogether, neither did I so despise them that they should be quite consumed, and I should make void my covenant with them. For I am the Lord their God."

The Jews would survive Babylonian rule and return home
Bible prophecy: Jeremias 32:36-37
Prophecy written: Sometime between 626-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 536 BC

Jeremias was one of the prophets who warned the people of Judah that they would be forced into exile by the Babylonians. In Jeremias 32:36-37, he prophesies to the people that they will survive that their exile in Babylon and return home.

Babylon had defeated the Assyrians in a decisive battle, ending in 612 B.C., at Nineveh. And then, in 609 B.C., the Babylonians captured the last Assyrian king. The Assyrians had an empire that had included the land of Judah but now the Babylonians had seized control of the empire.

In an effort to show the people of Judah that Babylon was now their new master, they began a process of forcing key residents into exile, as early as 605 B.C. More deportations took place in later years, culminating with the wholesale destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 B.C.

Jews began returning to their homeland after the Babylonian Empire was toppled in 539 B.C., by a coalition of Medes and Persians.

Jeremias 32:36-38: "And now, therefore, thus saith the Lord the God of Israel to this city, whereof you say that it shall be delivered into the hands of the king of Babylon by the sword, and by famine, and by pestilence: Behold I will gather them together out of all the lands to which I have cast them out in my anger, and in my wrath, and in my great indignation: and I will bring them again into this place, and will cause them to dwell securely. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God."

The people of Israel would return to 'their own land'
Bible prophecy: Ezechiel 34:13
Prophecy written: Between 593-571 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 2600 years ago

Like Jeremias, the prophet Ezechiel also lived during the time that the Babylonians ruled over the people of Judah, and he too was one of the Jews who were taken to Babylon as captives. In Ezechiel 34:13, he prophesied that God would gather the exiles from the various nations to which they had been scattered and that he would restore them to "their own land."

Ezechiel 34:13: "And I will bring them out from the peoples, and will gather them out of the countries, and will bring them to their own land: and I will feed them in the mountains of Israel, by the rivers, and in all the habitations of the land."

Enemies would move into the land of Israel
Bible prophecy: Leviticus 26:32-33
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: Beginning in about 721 BC

In Leviticus 26:32-33, as well as in other prophecies of the Bible, we learn that the people of Israel would be persecuted in the nations to which they would be driven during their exile, and that the land of Israel would be in ruins. Here, though, we also learn that enemies would reside in the land of Israel during and after the time of exile (Leviticus 26:32). This fulfillment of this prophecy began about 2500 years ago when Jews began returning from their Babylonian exile.

Whereas Leviticus 26:32-33 speaks of the punishment through exile and destruction, other verses within the 26th chapter of Leviticus speak of forgiveness and restoration. Nehemiah played an important role in the restoration of the land and people of Israel after the fall of the Babylonian Empire.

Leviticus 26:32-33: "And I will destroy your land, and your enemies shall be astonished at it, when they shall be the inhabitants thereof. And I will scatter you among the Gentiles, and I will draw out the sword after you, and your land shall be desert, and your cities destroyed."

Jesus prophesied that the Temple would be destroyed
Bible prophecy: St. Matthew 24:1-2
Prophecy written: During the first century
Prophecy fulfilled: 70 AD

In St. Matthew 24:1-2, Jesus prophesied that the Temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed and that its destruction would be so complete that not one stone would be left standing on top of another. His prophecy was fulfilled about 40 years later when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and tore down the Temple. The destruction was so complete that even the foundations of the Temple were dug up, according to Josephus, an historian who wrote about the destruction.

St. Matthew 24:1-2: "And Jesus being come out of the temple, went away. And his disciples came to shew him the buildings of the temple. And he answering, said to them: Do you see all these things? Amen I say to you there shall not be left here a stone upon a stone that shall not be destroyed."

Jesus prophesied that the Jews would be exiled
Bible prophecy: St. Luke 21:24
Prophecy written: During the first century
Prophecy fulfilled: 70 AD

In St. Luke 21:24, Jesus said that Jerusalem would be trampled upon by foreigners and that the people of Israel would be forced into exile. About 40 years after Jesus delivered that prophecy, it began to find fulfillment. The Romans destroyed Jerusalem in the year 70, and again in the year 135. During the first destruction, Josephus, an historian who lived during the first century, claimed that 1.1 million Jews died and that hundreds of thousands were forced out of the country and into exile and slavery. During the second destruction, Cassius Dio, an historian who lived during the second century, claimed that 580,000 Jews were killed, and that 50 fortified towns and 985 villages were destroyed.

The exiled Jews were taken to countries throughout the Roman Empire and eventually scattered and re-scattered throughout the world.

St. Luke 21:24: "And they shall fall by the edge of the sword; and shall be led away captives into all nations; and Jerusalem shall be trodden down by the Gentiles; till the times of the nations be fulfilled."

Jesus explained why Jerusalem would be destroyed
Bible prophecy: St. Luke 19:41-44
Prophecy written: During the first century
Prophecy fulfilled: 70 AD

In St. Luke 19:41-44, Jesus prophesied that Jerusalem would be destroyed because of the rejection of Jesus as the Messiah. Although some people did accept Jesus as the Messiah, many people rejected him. In fact, the rejection was strong enough that Jesus was executed a short time after uttering the prophecy.

St. Luke 19:41-44: "And when he drew near, seeing the city, he wept over it, saying: If thou also hadst known, and that in this thy day, the things that are to thy peace; but now they are hidden from thy eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, and thy enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and straiten thee on every side, And beat thee flat to the ground, and thy children who are in thee: and they shall not leave in thee a stone upon a stone: because thou hast not known the time of thy visitation."

Daniel foretold the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple
Bible prophecy: Daniel 9:24-26
Prophecy written: About 530 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 70 AD

During the time of Daniel, who lived about 2600 years ago, the Babylonians invaded Judah (the southern part of the land of Israel) and took many Jews, including Daniel, as captives to Babylon.

The Babylonians also destroyed the city of Jerusalem and the Temple, in 586 B.C.

In Daniel 9:24-26, Daniel delivers a prophecy that Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed, again. Within these verses, Daniel provides a chronology by which certain events would occur. First, the Jews would return from captivity and rebuild Jerusalem and the Temple. Afterwards, an "anointed one," or Messiah, would appear, but he would be rejected. Then, Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed, again.

These events later played out during the century in which Jesus had announced that he was the Messiah.

Daniel 9:24-26: "Seventy weeks are shortened upon thy people, and upon thy holy city, that transgression may be finished, and sin may have an end, and iniquity may be abolished; and everlasting justice may be brought; and vision and prophecy may be fulfilled; and the saint of saints may be anointed. Know thou therefore, and take notice: that from the going forth of the word, to build up Jerusalem again, unto Christ the prince, there shall be seven weeks, and sixty-two weeks: and the street shall be built again, and the walls in straitness of times. And after sixty-two weeks Christ shall be slain: and the people that shall deny him shall not be his. And a people with their leader that shall come, shall destroy the city and the sanctuary: and the end thereof shall be waste, and after the end of the war the appointed desolation."

Zion would be 'plowed like a field'
Bible prophecy: Micheas 3:11-12
Prophecy written: Sometime between 750-686 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 135 AD

In Micheas 3:11-12, the prophet Micheas said that Jerusalem would be destroyed and that "Zion" - a central part of Jerusalem - would be "plowed like a field."

Micheas's prophecy is believed to have been delivered in about 730 BC (about 2700 years ago). Since that time, Jerusalem was destroyed in 586 BC by the Babylonians and by the Romans in 70 AD. The Romans destroyed it again in 135 AD to crush a second Jewish rebellion for independence.

According to a text in the Gemara - a collection of ancient Jewish writings - the Romans ran a plow over Zion on the 9th day of the Jewish month of Ab. The Gemara said that Turnus Rufus, a Roman officer, plowed the area of the Temple. This prophecy was fulfilled in literal detail.

Incidentally, there was a Roman coin minted during that era that shows an image of a man using a plow. The coin was intended to commemorate the founding of the pagan Roman city called Aelia Capitolina on the site of Jerusalem. The Romans sometimes minted coins showing the plowing motif as a symbol of the establishment of a new Roman city.

Judaists fast (go without food) on the 9th day of the Jewish month of Ab (sometimes spelled Av) in remembrance of five historic events that are recorded as occurring on that date. One of those events is the plowing of all or part of Jerusalem by the Romans.

Micheas 3:11-12: "Her princes have judged for bribes, and her priests have taught for hire, and her prophets divined for money: and they leaned upon the Lord, saying: Is not the Lord in the midst of us? no evil shall come upon us. Therefore, because of you, Sion shall be ploughed as a field, and Jerusalem shall be as a heap of stones, and the mountain of the temple as the high places of the forests."

The Bible foreshadowed Rome's destruction of Israel
Bible prophecy: Deuteronomy 28:49-52
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 70 AD

The Bible has several prophecies foretelling the destruction of the land of Israel, including one in the book of Deuteronomy that coincides with the manner in which the Roman army destroyed the land of Israel during the first and second centuries:

"The Lord will bring a nation against you from far away, from the ends of the earth, like an eagle swooping down . . . They will lay siege to all the cities throughout your land until the high fortified walls in which you trust fall down." (Portions of Deuteronomy 28:49-52, NIV translation).

The Romans oppressively ruled over the land of Israel for a century before the Jews waged two wars for independence, the first beginning in 67 AD and the second beginning in about 132 AD. Both wars resulted in great destruction to the land and people of Israel. An ancient historian named Cassius Dio claimed that the Roman army had razed to the ground 985 villages throughout Israel. If the figure is to believed, then it might be including settlements, along with cities and towns, throughout the land. The writings of Cassius Dio, along with those from Josephus, another first-century historian, indicate that the Roman army's destruction of Israel was very complete.

The prophecy also speaks of an eagle in reference to the army that would swoop down upon Israel and reduce it to a state of desolation. As we learn from historians, including Tacitus who lived during the first century, the Romans marched with standards - poles adorned with the eagle figurines - held high above their heads, as though the eagles were in flight.

Another feature of the prophecy is that it speaks of armies being gathered from the ends of the earth. The Romans had armies scattered throughout parts of Europe, Africa and Asia. To quell the Jewish uprising, some troops had to be called in from as far away as the British Isles.

Deuteronomy 28:49-52: "The Lord will bring upon thee a nation from afar, and from the uttermost ends of the earth, like an eagle that flyeth swiftly, whose tongue thou canst not understand, A most insolent nation, that will shew no regard to the ancients, nor have pity on the infant, And will devour the fruit of thy cattle, and the fruits of thy land: until thou be destroyed, and will leave thee no wheat, nor wine, nor oil, nor herds of oxen, nor flocks of sheep: until he destroy thee. And consume thee in all thy cities, and thy strong and high walls be brought down, wherein thou trustedst in all thy land. Thou shalt be besieged within thy gates in all thy land which the Lord thy God will give thee."

Israel would become a wasteland
Bible prophecy: Deuteronomy 29:23
Prophecy written: As early as 1400 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: At different times in history

In Deuteronomy 29:23, the Bible said Israel would become a wasteland. This prophecy certainly was fulfilled. The land has been described many times as having been a sparsely populated wasteland, as recently as the late 1800s and early 1900s. American writer Mark Twain wrote this, in 1867, about the land of Israel, which at the time was called Palestine: "Palestine sits in sackcloth and ashes… the spell of a curse that has withered its fields and fettered its energies… Palestine is desolate and unlovely… It is a hopeless, dreary, heartbroken land."

Deuteronomy 29:23: "Burning it with brimstone, and the heat of salt, so that it cannot be sown any more, nor any green thing grow therein, after the example of the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrha, Adama and Seboim, which the Lord destroyed in his wrath and indignation."

Babylon would rule Judah for 70 years
Bible prophecy: Jeremias 25:11-12
Prophecy written: Sometime between 626-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: About 609 BC to 539 BC

In Jeremias 25:11-12, the prophet said that the Jews would suffer 70 years of Babylonian domination. Jeremias also said Babylon would be punished after the 70 years. Both parts of this prophecy were fulfilled. In 609 BC, which is about 2600 years ago, Babylon captured the last Assyrian king and ruled over a vast part of what had been the Assyrian empire, to which the land of Israel previously had been subjugated. Babylon later asserted its dominance by taking many Jews as captives to Babylon, and by destroying Jerusalem and the Temple. The domination ended in 539 BC, when Cyrus, a leader of Persians and Medes, conquered Babylon and brought an end to its empire. Cyrus later offered the captive Jews the freedom to return to their homeland.

Jeremias 25:11-12: "And all this land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment: and all these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And when the seventy years shall be expired, I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans: and I will make it perpetual desolations."

Babylon's gates would open for Cyrus
Bible prophecy: Isaias 45:1
Prophecy written: Between 701-681 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 539 BC

In Isaias 45:1, the prophet said God would open the gates of Babylon for Cyrus and his attacking army. Despite Babylon's remarkable defenses, which included moats, and walls that were more than 70-feet thick and 300-feet high, and 250 watchtowers, Cyrus was able to enter the city and conquer it. Cyrus and his troops diverted the flow of the Euphrates River into a large lake basin. Cyrus then was able to march his army across the riverbed and into the city.

Isaias 45:1 "Thus saith the Lord to my anointed Cyrus, whose right hand I have taken hold of, to subdue nations before his face, and to turn the backs of kings, and to open the doors before him, and the gates shall not be shut."

Babylon's kingdom would be overthrown, permanently
Bible prophecy: Isaias 13:19
Prophecy written: Between 701-681 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 539 BC

In Isaias 13:19, the prophet said Babylon would be overthrown, permanently. History confirms that when Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BC, it never again rose to power as an empire. Before the time of Cyrus, however, Babylon had been defeated by the Assyrian Empire but was able to recover and later conquer the Assyrian Empire. However, like Isaias prophesied 2700 years ago, the Babylonian Empire never recovered from Cyrus' conquest.

Isaias 13:19: "And that Babylon, glorious among kingdoms, the famous pride of the Chaldeans, shall be even as the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrha."

Babylon would be reduced to swampland
Bible prophecy: Isaias 14:23
Prophecy written: Between 701-681 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 539 BC

In Isaias 14:23, the prophet said that Babylon, which had been a world power at two different times in history, would be brought to a humble and final end. It would be reduced to swampland. After Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BC, the kingdom never again rose to power. The buildings of Babylon fell into a gradual state of ruin during the next several centuries. Archaeologists excavated Babylon during the 1800s. Some parts of the city could not be dug up because they were under a water table that had risen over the years.

Isaias 14:23: "And I will make it a possession for the ericius and pools of waters, and I will sweep it and wear it out with a besom, saith the Lord of hosts."

Tyre's fortresses would fail
Bible prophecy: Amos 1:9-10
Prophecy written: About 750 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 333-332 BC

In Amos 1:9-10, the prophet said that God would cause Tyre's protective fortresses to fail, as punishment for the way that Tyre treated Israel. That prophecy was fulfilled in 586-573 BC when Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar attacked the mainland of Tyre, and in 333-332 BC when Alexander the Great conquered the island of Tyre. Alexander's army built a land bridge from the mainland to the island so that they could use a battering ram to break through the island's fortress.

Amos 1:9: "Thus saith the Lord: For three crimes of Tyre, and for four I will not convert it: because they have shut up an entire captivity in Edom, and have not remembered the covenant of brethren. 10 And I will send a fire upon the wall of Tyre, and it shall devour the houses thereof."

Tyre would be attacked by many nations
Bible prophecy: Ezechiel 26:3
Prophecy written: Between 587-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 573 BC, 332 BC, etc.

In Ezechiel 26:3, the prophet said that Tyre, the Phoenician Empire's most powerful city, would be attacked by many nations, because of its treatment of Israel. At about the time that Ezechiel delivered this prophecy, Babylon had begun a 13-year attack on Tyre's mainland. Later, in about 332 BC, Alexander the Great conquered the island of Tyre and brought an end to the Phoenician Empire.

Ezechiel 26:3: "Therefore thus saith the Lord God: Behold I come against thee, O Tyre, and I will cause many nations to come up to thee, as the waves of the sea rise up."

Tyre's stones, timber and soil would be cast into the sea
Bible prophecy: Ezechiel 26:12
Prophecy written: Between 587-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 333-332 BC

In Ezechiel 26:12, the prophet said that Tyre's stones, timber and soil would be thrown into the sea. Ezechiel's prophecy accurately describes how Alexander the Great built a land bridge from the mainland to the island of Tyre, when he attacked in 333-332 BC. Alexander's forces took rubble from Tyre's mainland and tossed it - stones, timber and soil - into the sea, to build the land bridge (which is still there).

Ezechiel 26:12: "They shall waste thy riches, they shall make a spoil of thy merchandise: and they shall destroy thy walls, and pull down thy fine houses: and they shall lay thy stones and thy timber, and thy dust in the midst of the waters."

Tyre would lose its power over the sea
Bible prophecy: Zacharias 9:3-4
Prophecy written: Between 520 and 518 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: Since 332 BC

In Zacharias 9:3-4, the prophet said that the Phoenician city of Tyre would lose its status as a powerful nation on the Mediterranean Sea. Today there is a city called Tyre that is either on, or near, the original Phoenician site. But this Tyre is a small city in modern-day Lebanon. It is certainly not the powerful nation that it was in the days of Zacharias.

Zacharias 9:3-4: "And Tyre hath built herself a strong hold, and heaped together silver as earth, and gold as the mire of the streets. Behold the Lord shall possess her, and shall strike her strength in the sea, and she shall be devoured with fire."

Phoenician Tyre would never again be found
Bible prophecy: Ezechiel 26:21
Prophecy written: Between 587-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: After 332 BC

In Ezechiel 26:21, the prophet said that the Phoenician city of Tyre would be brought to an end and would never again be found. When Alexander the Great destroyed the city in 332 BC, he brought an end to the Phoenician Empire. The Empire was never revived or "found" again. As for the city itself, it has been torn down and built upon by a succession of foreign powers. Today, finding artifacts from the original Phoenician Tyre is difficult. According to the Columbia Encyclopedia, Fifth Edition: "The principal ruins of the city today are those of buildings erected by the Crusaders. There are some Greco-Roman remains, but any left by the Phoenicians lie underneath the present town."

Ezechiel 26:21: "I will bring thee to nothing, and thou shalt not be, and if thou be sought for, thou shalt not be found any more for ever, saith the Lord God."

Phoenician Tyre would never be rebuilt
Bible prophecy: Ezechiel 26:14
Prophecy written: Between 587-586 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: Since 332 BC

In Ezechiel 26:14, the prophet says the Phoenician city of Tyre would be destroyed and never be rebuilt. This was fulfilled when Alexander the Great conquered Tyre in 332 BC. His conquest brought an end to the Phoenician Empire. The empire never recovered from the attack. And so, it could never rebuild Tyre. Other nations and empires have built and rebuilt cities on or near the original Phoenician site.

Ezechiel 26:14: "And I will make thee like a naked rock, thou shalt be a drying place for nets, neither shalt thou be built any more: for I have spoken it, saith. the Lord God."

Nineveh's army officers would desert
Bible prophecy: Nahum 3:17
Prophecy written: About 614 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 612 BC

In Nahum 3:17, the prophet said Nineveh's army officers would flee rather than fight. Babylonian records claim that Assyrian army members did flee from the battle.

Nahum 3:17 Thy guards are like the locusts: and thy little ones like the locusts of locusts which swarm on the hedges in the day of cold: the sun arose, and they flew away, and their place was not known where they were.

Nineveh would be destroyed, permanently
Bible prophecy: Nahum 3:19
Prophecy written: About 614 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 612 BC

In Nahum 3:19 (and 1:9), the prophet said that Nineveh, which was the Assyrian Empire's capital and perhaps the most powerful city of the ancient world, would suffer a wound that would never heal.

In 612 BC (about 2600 years ago), a coalition of Babylonians, Scythians and Medes conquered the heavily fortified city. According to the Bible, Nineveh was to be punished for the empire's inhumane treatment of Israel.

It is unknown as to when exactly Nahum delivered this prophecy. Some scholars speculate that it was delivered about two years before the conquest. But, it is known that Nahum was correct: the city of Nineveh, as well as the Assyrian empire as a whole, never recovered from the defeat.

It is worth noting that recovery would not have been unprecedented. The Assyrian empire had conquered Babylon many years beforehand, but Babylon was able to recover from that defeat, regain its power, and defeat Assyria. But, as Nahum had accurately prophesied some 2600 years ago, Nineveh never recovered.

Nahum 3:19: "Thy destruction is not hidden, thy wound is grievous: all that have heard the fame of thee, have clapped their hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?"

Ninevites would be drunk in their final hours
Bible prophecy: Nahum 1:10
Prophecy written: About 614 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 612 BC

In Nahum 1:10 and 3:11, the prophet said that during the final hours of the attack on Nineveh, the Ninevites would be drunk. There is evidence that this prophecy was fulfilled. According to the ancient historian Diodorus Siculus: "The Assyrian king gave much wine to his soldiers. Deserters told this to the enemy, who attacked that night." Siculus compiled his historical works about 600 years after the fall of Nineveh.

Nahum 1:10: "For as thorns embrace one another: so while they are feasting and drinking together, they shall be consumed as stubble that is fully dry."

Nahum 3:11: "Therefore thou also shalt be made drunk, and shalt be despised: and thou shalt seek help from the enemy."

Nineveh would be destroyed by fire
Bible prophecy: Nahum 3:15
Prophecy written: About 614 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 612 BC

In Nahum 3:15, the prophet said that Nineveh would be damaged by fire. Archaeologists unearthed the site during the 1800s and found a layer of ash covering the ruins. According to the Encyclopaedia Britannica: "…Nineveh suffered a defeat from which it never recovered. Extensive traces of ash, representing the sack of the city by Babylonians, Scythians, and Medes in 612 BC, have been found in many parts of the Acropolis. After 612 BC the city ceased to be important…"

Nahum 3:15: "Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, and that preacheth peace: O Juda, keep thy festivals, and pay thy vows: for Belial shall no more pass through thee again, he is utterly cut off."

Ninevites would be wiped out
Bible prophecy: Nahum 1:14
Prophecy written: About 614 BC
Prophecy fulfilled: 612 BC

In Nahum 1:14, the prophet said Nineveh would have no descendants to carry on the prestige of Nineveh. Nineveh's destruction in 612 BC marked a permanent end to the Assyrian Empire. The city itself never again rose to any significant importance. Today, Nineveh is an archaeological site in Iraq.

Nahum 1:14: "And the Lord will give a commandment concerning thee, that no more of thy name shall be sown: I will destroy the graven and molten thing out of the house of thy God, I will make it thy grave, for thou art disgraced."

The Bible, which has proven itself to be of divine origin points out the way to eternal life, and that is the Holy Catholic Church, outside of which there is no salvation. It is necessary to become a member of this Church.


Please read also:
The Church's Sacraments Today
The Church is not defined by numbers

In 1801, during the spiritual chaos following the French Revolution, many Catholics refused to avail themselves of the ministry of apostate priests who had taken the oath to the revolutionary regime. Finding themselves bereft of Mass and the Sacraments, a group of them wrote for spiritual direction to a priest who was a missionary of St. Joseph and a professor of theology in Lyons who had remained faithful to his ordination. His reply has come down to us and is even more pertinent today than when it was first written. He tells his correspondents:

"The Holy Eucharist had for you many joys and advantages when you were able to participate in this Sacrament of love, but now you are deprived of it for being defenders of truth and justice."

He says they must not despair however, because,

"We are obedient in going to Communion, but in holding ourselves from the Sacrifice we are immolating ourselves... We sacrifice our own life as much as it is in us to do" and the sacrifice is continuous, "renewing itself every day, every time that we adore with submission the hand of God that drives us away from His altars... It is to be advantageously deprived of the Eucharist, to raise the standard of the Cross for the cause of Christ and the glory of the Church... Yes, I have no fear in saying it. When the storm of the malice of men roars against truth and justice, it is more advantageous to the faithful to suffer for Christ than to participate in His Body by Communion. I seem to hear the Savior saying to us, 'Repair by this humiliating deprivation that glorifies Me, all the Communions which dishonor Me.'"

Regarding the loss of sacramental Confession, the priest wrote, "Removed from the resources of the sanctuary and deprived of all exercise of the Priesthood, there remains no mediator for us save Jesus Christ. It is to Him we must go for our needs. Before His supreme Majesty we must bluntly tear the veil off our consciences and in search of the good and bad we have done, thank Him for His graces, confess our sins and ask pardon and to show us the direction of His Holy Will, having in our hearts the sincere desire to confess to His minister whenever we are able to do so. There, my children, is what I call confessing to God! In such a confession well made, God himself will absolve us.... Anything which attaches to God is holy. When we suffer for the truth, our sufferings are those of Jesus Christ, who honors us then with a special character of resemblance to Him with His Cross. This grace is the greatest happiness that could possibly happen to a mortal in this life.

"It is thus in all painful situations that deprive us of the Sacraments. The carrying of the Cross like a Christian is the source of the remission of our sins, just as it was for the sins of the whole human race when it was once carried by Jesus Christ.... What the world does to drive us away from God only brings us closer... We are able now to repair those faults which came from too great a trust in absolution and not examining one's weaknesses thoroughly enough. Obliged to wail now before God, the faithful soul considers all its deformities... Let this confession to God be for you a short daily practice, but fervent... The first fruit that you will draw from it apart from the remission of your sins, will be to learn to know yourself and to know God, and the second will be to be ever ready to present yourself to a priest if you are able, enriched in character by the mercy of the Lord."

As for being deprived of the Last Sacraments at the moment of death, he wrote, "Console yourselves, my children, in the trust you have in God. This tender Father will pour on you His graces, His blessings and His mercies in these awful moments that you fear, in more abundance than if you were being assisted by His ministers, of whom you have been deprived only because you wouldn't abandon Him. The abandonment and forsakenness that we fear for ourselves resembles that of the Savior on the Cross when He said to His Father, 'My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?' ... Your pains and abandonment lead you to your glorious destiny in ending your life like Jesus ended His!"

Bearing all this in mind, there are many Catholic practices left to the laity which cannot be taken away from us:

+ First and foremost there is the daily recitation of the Rosary, the "layman's breviary," which is essentially a compendium of the Divine Office, the official prayer of the Church and on which, together with the Angelus we can structure our day.

+ There is an abundance of sacramentals to be used with faith. Beginning with the Scapular of Mt. Carmel, the holy habit by which the fervent Catholic is universally identified, there are the Miraculous Medal and the Saint Benedict Medal, besides many other scapulars and medals, not to mention relics of the saints.

+ Besides the Bible, in which for centuries God was pre-incarnate and in which He still resides in His Word, there are countless good Catholic books and lives of the saints. Collect them, read them, study them, lend them to others!

+ And let's not forget the dogged, daily practice of virtue, forgiving all offenses real or imagined, trying always to overcome evil with good, loving our enemies and doing good to those who hate us. There are the corporal and spiritual works of mercy to be performed, especially counseling the doubtful and teaching the ignorant of all ages in these dark days, helping one another both materially and spiritually, "teaching and admonishing one another" as St. Paul advised the early Christians (Col. 3:16).

+ We can always make spiritual Communions.

Whatever means we make use of, we must pray without ceasing, whether saying the approved prayers of the Church, making the Stations of the Cross or meditating on the Gospels. Above all other practices we should cultivate the awareness of the divine Indwelling in our own souls as we would in church before a sanctuary lamp. St. Paul asks, "Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwells in you? ... For the temple of God is holy, which you are" (1 Cor. 3;16-17). Only unrepented mortal sin can remove God's presence from the souls of the baptized.

Fr. Edward Leen pointed out that, "The material temple of God does not worship the God in whose honor it is built," but "the spiritual temple can and does. It is its prerogative to do so.... It is to be noted that there is no question here of a merely metaphorical or figurative presence. It is one which is real and substantial." And then he goes on to say something which many of us may find surprising: "The Holy Ghost is present in the soul in grace in a manner which bears an analogy to, but is much superior to, that in which the Incarnate God is present under the sacred species.... It was to make this wonder possible for us that Jesus lived, labored, suffered and died... If the soul in grace cultivates a close attention to God within it and labors to draw ever closer to Him by perfecting its worship of love and service, it gradually undergoes a transforming process. It becomes more and more like to the God it loves, and becoming like Him, begins to have a foretaste of that bliss enjoyed by God himself and those to whom He stands revealed in the Beatific Vision." In other words, loss of the sacraments need not stand in the way of our becoming saints.

Nothing happens without the will of God, whose divine Son told us, "The very hairs of your head are all numbered" (Matt. 10:30), but the priest nevertheless warned his charges, "Don't be surprised at the great number who quit! Truth wins, no matter how small the number of those who love and remain attached to God."

So I'll close with the same words with which he ended his long letter: "God watches over us, our hope is justified. It tells us that either the persecution stops or the persecution will be our crown. In the alternative of one or the other, I see the accomplishment of our destiny. Let God's will be done, since in whatever manner He delivers us, His eternal mercies pour into us."

Fr. Yves Congar and the Jewish Influence of Vatican II

Fr. Yves Congar, one of the biggest influences of Vatican II, was born on April 13, 1904,[1] and was ordained a priest on July 25, 1930.[2] While functioning as a “Catholic” priest, he attended courses at The Faculty of Protestant Theology in Paris.[3] Congar spent eight years, from 1931-1939, as a professor at Le Saulchoir, the Dominican house of studies in Paris, where he taught theology. He had another stint there as a professor from 1945-1954.[4] During these times, Congar became suspect of heresy and was forbidden to publish many of his works.[5] Congar was a big supporter of the heresy of Collegiality,[6] and wasn't too fond of the monarchical nature of the papacy.[7] In February of 1954, Fr. Congar was forbidden to teach, and along with fellow colleagues Fr. Marie-Dominique Chenu (who's heretical book ‘A School of Theology: Le Saulchoir’ was condemned and placed on the Index of Forbidden Books in 1942)[8], Fr. Henri-Marie Feret, and Fr. Pierre Boisselot, were expelled from Le Saulchoir and sent into exile.[9]

Yves Congar was called out of exile in 1960 by a follower of his, none other than Antipope Angelo Roncalli,[10][11] who had called upon Congar to serve as a theologian for the Second Vatican “Council”[12][13]. Congar co-authored many of the heretical documents of Vatican II, including Lumen gentium, Unitatis redintegratio, Dignitatis humanae, Gaudeium et spes, and others.[14] Perhaps Congar's biggest contribution to the pseudo-Council was the role he played in establishing Nostra Aetate, arguably Vatican II's most heretical document.

Yves CONGAR: French, age 65, suspect [of heresy] at one time by the Holy Office; expert at the [Second Vatican] Council, inspired 10 of the 16 documents; important works divided Christians; ‘True and False Reforms’ in English served as theology for the laity; ‘Tradition and Traditions’; to advise Council.[15]

In 1962, “Cardinal” Bea (who was actually a Jewish infiltrator named Behar)[16], working on behalf of antipope Roncalli, sent Fr. Yves Congar to Strasbourg, France, where he would meet with the Jews in a secretly arranged meeting in the basement of a synagogue.[17] The purpose of the meeting was to find out what the Jews demands were.

The Jews objected to how for twenty centuries they were treated as deicides (which they
are St. Mattew 27:25), and how they are regarded as enemies (which they are ! Thessalonians 2:14-15).[18] The Jews demanded to be considered as “brothers, partners of equal dignity, of the Christian Church…”[19] Fr. Yves Congar returned to Rome and Nostra Aetate was born.

Fr. Yves Congar
Modernist Heretic
“Cardinal” Augustin Bea
Modernist Heretic
Jew Infiltrator

The Second Vatican “Council” heretically declared in the document Nostra Aetate: “Although the Church is the new people of God, the Jews should not be presented as rejected or cursed by God, as if such views followed from the holy scriptures”.[20] The notion that the Jews “…should not be presented as rejected or cursed by God…” is completely heretical. Jews are rejected and cursed by God! Then it boldly states: “…as if this followed from the holy scriptures”. This is a bold-faced lie, plain and simple, and is intended to fool the scripturally ignorant.

Jews are rejected by God:
St. Matthew 10:33 But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny before my Father who is in heaven.

Jews suffer the wrath of God:
St. John 3:36 He who believeth in the Son of God, hath life everlasting. He who believeth not does not have life. But the wrath of God abideth upon him.

1 Thessalonians 2:14 …for you also have suffered the same things from your own countrymen, even as they have from the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus, and the prophets, and have persecuted us, and please not God, and are adversaries to all men…for the wrath of God is come upon them to the end.

Jews are anathema (cursed)!
1 Corinthians 16:22 If any man love not our Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema...

The Scriptures are undeniably clear. The heresies in Nostra Aetate come straight from the Jews themselves, as requested in their secret meeting with Fr. Yves Congar in the basement of the Synagogue of Satan, and granted by the collaborating Jew infiltrators. Of course, the Jews’ role in Vatican II is hardly limited to just this one interesting story about Nostra Aetate. There are countless other examples showing how the Jews orchestrated the apostate Second Vatican anti-Council and created the Luciferian Judeo-Masonic religion known as the Novus Ordo religion.

More can definitely be said about the apostate Yves Congar -- much more -- more than could fit in just one article. Perhaps in the future I will write more on him. Some have wondered though, what became of Fr. Yves Congar? What happened to the man who was suspected of heresy, silenced, forbidden to publish, forbidden to teach, exiled under Antipope Pius XII, and revived by antipope Roncalli? Well, unsurprisingly, before his death in 1995, he was made a “Cardinal” of the Novus Ordo sect by antipope Wojtyla.[21]
[1] Yves Congar's Vision of the Church in a World of Unbelief, by Gabriel Flynn, Introduction, p. 4
[2] Yves Congar's Vision of the Church in a World of Unbelief, by Gabriel Flynn, Introduction, p. 7
[3] Yves Congar: Theologian of the Church, by Gabriel Flynn, Part III, p. 209
[4] Yves Congar's Vision of the Church in a World of Unbelief, by Gabriel Flynn, Introduction, p. 7
[5] An Alley in Chicago, by Margery Frisbie, Chap. 25
[6] True and False Reform in the Church, by Yves Congar
[7] Canonization of (anti) Pope Pius X by (anti) Pope Pius XII, Angelus Press, by Fr. Christian Thouvenot, Cit. 30
[8] Schillebeeckx, by Phillip Kennedy, Chap. 2, p. 22
[9] Yves Congar's Vision of the Church in a World of Unbelief, by Gabriel Flynn, Introduction, p. 10
[10] The Hierarchy of Truths According to Yves Congar, O.P., by William Henn
[11] Yves Congar: Theologian of the Church, by Gabriel Flynn, Part 1, p. 27
[12] The Situation in the Church and Relations with Rome, Conference, St. Ignatius Retreat House in Ridgefield, Connecticut, Fe4ruary 17, 2008, by Bishop Bernard Fellay
[13] Yves Congar's Theology of the Holy Spirit, by Elizabeth Teresa Groppe, Chap. 1, p. 24
[14] Yves Congar's Theology of the Holy Spirit, by Elizabeth Teresa Groppe, Chap. 1, p. 25
[15] Informations Catholiques Internationales, No. 336, May 15, 1969, p. 9
[16] The Struggle for the Catholic Church, Sermon, The Daily Catholic, by Fr. Louis J. Campbell
[17] The Pope in America, Effedieffe Giornale, by Maurizio Blondet
[18] Catechism of the Crisis in the Church, Part 5, Angelus Press, by Fr. Matthias Gaudron, Q. 26
[19] What were the Jews’ demands?, Tribune Juive, Issue No. 1001, by Lazare Landau
[20] Second Vatican Council , Nostra Aetate, Sec. 4
[21] Modern Christian Thought, by James C. Livingston, Francis Schussler Fiorenza, Sarah Coakley, and James H. Evans Jr., Vol. 2, Chap. 8, p. 233

Friday, March 27, 2009

The Early Church Fathers on the primacy of the Roman Catholic Church

"For my part, I should not believe the Gospel except as moved by the authority of the Catholic Church." -- Augustine of Hippo, Saint and Early Church Father

Aside from the Biblical origin of the papacy, we have also the testimony of the Early Christian Fathers. These earliest and most prominent writers of the Christian Church are called the Fathers of the Church and are recognized as such by Catholics, 'Orthodox' and Protestants alike. The very earliest of these Fathers of the Church are called the Apostolic Fathers because of their close connection to the Apostles. Among the Apostolic Fathers, St. Ignatius holds a prominent place. He lived from approximately AD 50-117. He was third bishop of Antioch and was taught by the Apostle St. John. He also died heroically as a martyr. The epistles of St. Ignatius of Antioch are a staple in every collection of the writings of the Apostolic Fathers. He repeatedly speaks of the authority and the role of bishops in the Church. This shows us that from the very earliest ages, that there is no doubt the Church of Christ had a hierarchy. St. Ignatius is also the first recorded writer to use the term "Catholic Church".

Letter to the Smyrneans, 8, 2 (AD 107): "Wherever the bishop appears, let the congregation be present, just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church."

In Greek the word Catholic (katholikos) means universal. The Catholic Church is the universal Christian, the one universal Church of Christ that was established upon St. Peter. It is interesting that the first recorded author to use the term Catholic Church was St. Ignatius of Antioch. Acts 11:26 Also tells us that the term Christians was also first used at Antioch. Catholics and Christians are one and the same thing because the Catholic Church is the Christian Church.

St. Ignatius also had something interesting to say about St. Peter and St. Paul in Rome.

Epistle of Ignatius to the Romans written approximately AD 110: "I do not order you as did Peter and Paul,"

We'll come back to St. Ignatius, but here are some other citations from the Fathers of the Church which show that St. Peter, the head of the Christian Church, died in Rome as its first bishop.

Tertullian, The Prescription against the heretics: "Since you are able to cross to Asia, you get Ephesus. Since, moreover, you are close upon Italy, you have Rome, from which there comes even into our own hands the very authority (of apostles themselves). How happy is its church, on which apostles poured forth all their doctrine along with their blood! where Peter endures a passion like his Lord's!"

Origen, Third Commentary on Genesis,(A.D. 232): "Peter... at last, having come to Rome, he was crucified head downwards; for he had requested that he might suffer this way."

St. Cyprian, the famous bishop of Carthage wrote concerning the Bishop of Rome Fabian (Ep. lv, 24): "by the judgment of God and of Christ, by the testimony of almost all the clergy, by the vote of the people then present, by the consent of aged priests and of good men, at a time when no one had been made before him, when the place of Fabian, that is the place of Peter, and the step of the sacerdotal chair were vacant".

St. Optatus, who was the chief opponent of the Donatist heresy in the fourth century and the Bishop of Milevis wrote in the schism of the Donatists 22, in AD 367: "You cannot deny that you know that in the city of Rome upon Peter first the chair of the bishop was conferred, in which sat the head of all the Apostles, Peter, whence also he was called Cephas, in which one chair unity should be preserved by all, lest the other Apostles should each stand up for his own chair, so that now he should be a schismatic and a sinner who should against this one chair set up another. Therefore in the one chair, which is the first of the dotes Peter first sat, to whom succeeded Linus."

Lactantius, early Church writer, The Deaths of the Persecutors, 2, 5 AD 320: "And while Nero reigned, the Apostle Peter came to Rome, and, through the power of God committed unto him, wrought certain miracles, and, by turning many to the true religion, built up a faithful and stedfast temple unto the Lord."

The Early Church recognized the primacy of the Church of Rome and the bishop of Rome.

We must first look at the rebellion at the Church of Corinth in the first century. In approximately AD 90-100, The Church of Corinth consulted the bishop of Rome about serious disputes which were occurring in its Church. Pope Clement was the third bishop of Rome after St. Peter, he was the fourth Pope. The Church of Corinth wrote to Clement and asked him to intercede with their problem. Even though the Apostle St. John was still alive at the time and much closer to them in Ephesus.

The fact that the Church of Corinth went to far away Rome about their internal problem shows us that Papal primacy was recognized in the very first century. In response to their appeal, Pope Clement wrote his response to the Corinthians, the epistle of Clement to the Corinthians AD 90-100. This epistle is one of the most famous documents in the history of Christianity. In this epistles, which dates from AD 90-100, the Pope clearly uses authoritative language to command the Corinthian Christians to be subject to their local pastors.

Here are some quotes from his famous Epistle:
Clement I to the Corinthians, Chapter 1: "We feel that we have been somewhat tardy in turning to the points respecting which you consulted us, especially to that shameful and detestable sedition."

Clement I to the Corinthians, Chapter 57: "Ye therefore who laid the foundations of this sedition, submit yourselves to the Presbyters and receive correction, so as to repent, bending the knees of your hearts, learn to be subject aside the proud and arrogant self confidence of your tongue."

Clement I to the Corinthians, Chapter 47: "Your schism has subverted many, has discouraged many and has given rise to doubt in many."

Notice the authoritative language which Pope Clement uses in rebuking those who caused the internal rebellion at the Church of Corinth. This shows us that in the very earliest years, in the very first century, the Church of Rome was recognized as the one with superior authority. It was recognized in this way precisely because its bishop was the successor to St. Peter and his keys.

In the following very interesting quote, we will hear from Eastern Orthodox scholar Nicholas Afanasiev. He was a professor of Church history and Canon Law at the Orthodox Theological Institute in Paris. As an Eastern Orthodox theologian, he was not a Catholic and did not accept Catholic teaching on the Papacy or the bishop of Rome. But in an essay found in the Primacy of Peter, edited by John Meyendorff pages 124-126, here is what this Eastern Orthodox scholar admitted about the epsitle of Clement to the Corinthians:

"Let us turn to the facts, we know that the Church of Rome took over the position of Church with priority at the end of the first century. That was about the time at which her star ascended into the firmament of history in its brightest splendour. Even as early as the epsitle to the Romans, Rome seems to have stood out among the Churches as very important. Paul bears witness that the faith of the Romans was proclaimed throughout the whole world (Rom 1-8).

We have a document which gives us our earliest reliable evidence that the Church of Rome stood in an exceptional position of authority in this period. This is the epistle of Clement of Rome. We know that Clement was president of the Roman Church. The epistle clearly shows that the Church of Rome was aware of the decisive weight in the Church of Corinth's eyes that must attach to its witness about the events in Corinth so the Church of Rome at the of the first century exhibits a marked sense of its own priority. Note also that the Church of Rome did not feel obliged to make a case to justify its authoritative pronouncement on what we should now call the internal concerns of other Churches. There is nothing said about the grounds of this priority. Apparently Rome had no doubt that its priority would be accepts without argument."

So as we hear in this quote even the Eastern Orthodox admit that the epistle of Clement to the Corinthians clearly shows that Rome clearly held the place of priority in the first century. And this undeniable priority of the Church of Rome is nothing other than the primacy that belongs to it as a result of its bishop being the successor of St. Peter.

The next example we will look at brings us back to St. Ignatius of Antioch.

St. Ignatius of Antioch on the primacy of the Church of Rome. St. Ignatius of Antioch is acknowledged for the profound significance his letters hold among the most ancient Christian documents. In his famous epistle to the Romans number 1, dated AD 11, St. Ignatius of Antioch writes about the primacy of the Church of Rome among the Churches.

"Ignatius which is called Theophorus, to the Church which presides in the region of the Romans, and which is worthy of God, worthy of honour, worthy of the highest happiness, worthy of praise, worthy credit, worthy of being deemed holy and which presides over love."

St. Ignatius says twice that the Church of Rome presides. St. Ignatius' letters are among the most ancient expressions of Christianity that we have outside of the Bible, and in them we just happen to see that the famous bishop of Antioch ascribes to the bishop of Rome a primacy, a presidency among the Churches. Is it just a coincidence that in AD 110 we find a primacy ascribed to the Church of Rome, where as we already saw the Fathers tell us St. Peter established a temple to God and was martyred.

Finally, St. Augustine, a luminary of the Early Church who is quoted frequently even by non-Catholics, wrote concerning the succession of of bishops of the Church of Rome:

Augustine's Letter to Generosis, AD 400: "For if the lineal succession of bishops is to be taken into account, with how much more certainty and benefit to the Church do we reckon back till we reach Peter himself, to whom, as bearing in a figure the whole Church, the Lord said: Upon this rock will I build my Church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it! Matthew 16:18 The successor of Peter was Linus, and his successors in unbroken continuity were these..."

Clearly the Early Church was subject to the bishops the Roman Church. The Early Church Fathers were Catholic, because they knew that there is no salvation outside of the Holy Roman Catholic Church.

If you are not Catholic, you must humble yourself, learn this Faith and convert to it, or you cannot attain salvation.