A Brief Chronological Study on Prophecy and Fulfillment Concerning the Messiah

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Be Born In Bethlehem

Micah 5:2 – “But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, are only a small village in Judah. Yet a ruler of Israel will come from you, one whose origins are from the distant past.”

Fulfillment

Matthew 2:1-6 – “Jesus was born in the town of Bethlehem in Judea, during the reign of King Herod. About that time some wise men from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We have seen His star as it arose, and we have come to worship Him.’ Herod was deeply disturbed by their question, as was all of Jerusalem. He called a

meeting of the leading priests and teachers of religious law. ‘Where did the prophets say the Messiah would be born?’ he asked them. ‘In Bethlehem,’ they said, ‘for this is what the prophet wrote: ‘O Bethlehem of Judah, you are not just a lowly village in Judah, for a ruler will come from you who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.’”

Luke 2:4-5, 7, 15 – “And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was obviously pregnant by this time. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped Him snugly in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn. When the angels had returned to heaven,

the shepherds said to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’”

John 7:42 – “For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Be Born Of A Virgin

Isaiah 7:14 – “All right then, the Lord Himself will choose the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call Him Immanuel – ‘God is with us.’”

Isaiah 9:6-7 – “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders. These will be His royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!”

Fulfillment

Matthew 1:20-23 – “As he considered this, he fell asleep, and an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. ‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ All of this happened to fulfill the Lord’s message through His prophet: ‘Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and He will be called Immanuel (meaning, God is with us).’”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Be A Prophet Like Moses

Deuteronomy 18:15 – “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your fellow Israelites, and you must listen to that prophet.”

Fulfillment

John 7:40-42 – “When the crowds heard Him say this, some of them declared, ‘This man surely is the Prophet.’ Others said, ‘He is the Messiah.’ Still others said, ‘But He can’t be! Will the Messiah come from Galilee? For the Scriptures clearly state that the Messiah will be born of the royal line of David, in Bethlehem, the village where King David was born.’” 

Acts 3:20-23 – “Then wonderful times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and He will send Jesus your Messiah to you again. For He must remain in heaven until the time for the final restoration of all things, as God promised long ago through His prophets. Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up a Prophet like me from among your own people. Listen

carefully to everything He tells you.’ Then Moses said, ‘Anyone who will not listen to that Prophet will be cut off from God’s people and utterly destroyed.’”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Be Tempted By Satan

Psalm 91:10-12 – “No evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your dwelling. For He orders His angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.”

Fulfillment

Matthew 4:5-7 – “Then the Devil took Him to Jerusalem, to the highest point of the Temple, and said, ‘If You are the Son of God, jump off! For the Scriptures say, “He orders His angels to protect you. And they will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone.”’ Jesus responded, ‘The Scriptures also say, “Do not test the Lord your God.”’”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Enter Jerusalem Triumphantly

Zechariah 9:9 – “Rejoice greatly, O people of Zion! Shout in triumph, O people of Jerusalem! Look, your king is coming to you. He is righteous and victorious, yet he is humble, riding on a donkey – even on a donkey’s colt.”

Fulfillment

Matthew 21:8-11 – “Most of the crowd spread their coats on the road ahead of Jesus, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. He was in the center of the procession, and the crowds all around Him were shouting, ‘Praise God for the Son of David! Bless the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!’ The entire city of Jerusalem was stirred as He entered. ‘Who is this?’ they asked. And the crowds replied, ‘It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.’”

Luke 19:35-37 – “So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for Him to ride on. Then the crowds spread out their coats on the road ahead of Jesus. As they reached the place where the road started down from the Mount of Olives, all of His followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen.”

John 12:12-15 – “The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city. A huge crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet Him. They shouted, ‘Praise God! Bless the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Hail to the King of Israel! Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, fulfilling the prophecy that said: ‘Don’t

be afraid, people of Israel. Look, your King is coming, sitting on a donkey’s colt.’”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Be Rejected By His Own People

Isaiah 53:1, 3 – “Who has believed our message? To whom will the Lord reveal His saving power? He was despised and rejected – a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on Him and looked the other way when He went by. He was despised, and we did not care.”

Fulfillment

John 1:10-11 – “But although the world was made through Him, the world didn’t recognize Him when He came. Even in His own land and among His own people, He was not accepted.”

John 12:37-38 – “But despite all the miraculous signs He had done, most of the people did not believe in Him. This is exactly what Isaiah the prophet had predicted: ‘Lord, who has believed our message? To whom will the Lord reveal His saving power?’”

Matthew 26:3-4 – “At that same time the leading priests and other leaders were meeting at the residence of Caiaphas, the high priest, to discuss how to capture Jesus secretly and put Him to death.”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Be Betrayed By One Of His Followers

Psalm 41:9 – “Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me.” 

Psalm 55:12-13 – “It is not an enemy who taunts me – I could bear that. It is not my foes who so arrogantly insult me – I could have hidden from them. Instead, it is you – my equal, my companion and close friend.”

Fulfillment

Matthew 26:47, 49-50a – “And even as He said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a mob that was armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent out by the leading priests and other leaders of the people. So Judas came straight to Jesus. ‘Greetings, Teacher!’ he exclaimed and gave Him the kiss. Jesus said, ‘My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.’”

Luke 22:21-22, 47b – “ ‘But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray Me. For I, the Son of Man, must die since it is part of God’s plan. But how terrible it will be for My betrayer’! A mob approached, led by Judas, one of His twelve disciples. Judas walked over to Jesus and greeted Him with a kiss.”

John 13:18, 21, 26 – “ ‘I am not saying these things to all of you; I know so well each one of you I chose. The Scriptures declare, “The one who shares My food has turned against Me,” and this will soon come true’. Now Jesus was in great anguish of spirit, and He exclaimed, ‘The truth is, one of you will betray Me!’ Jesus said, ‘It is the one to whom I give the bread dipped in the sauce.’ And when He had dipped it, He gave it to Judas, son of Simon Iscariot.”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Be Betrayed For 30 Pieces Of Silver

Zechariah 11:12-13 – “And I said unto them, ‘If ye think good, give me my price; and if not, forbear. So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said unto me, Cast it unto the potter: a goodly price that I was prised at of them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and cast them to the potter in the house of the Lord.”

Fulfillment

Matthew 26:14-16 – “Then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, ‘How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?’ And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on, Judas began looking for the right time and place to betray Jesus.”

Matthew 27:3-4a – “When Judas, who had betrayed Him, realized that Jesus had been condemned to die, he was filled with remorse. So he took the thirty pieces of silver back to the leading priests and other leaders. ‘I have sinned,’ he declared, ‘for I have betrayed an innocent man.’”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Be Tried And Condemned

Isaiah 53:8 – “From prison and trial they led Him away to His death. But who among the people realized that He was dying for their sins – that He was suffering their punishment?”

Fulfillment

Matthew 27:1-2 – “Very early in the morning, the leading priests and other leaders met again to discuss how to persuade the Roman government to sentence Jesus to death. Then they bound Him and took Him to Pilate, the Roman governor.”

Luke 23:1, 23 – “The entire council took Jesus over to Pilate, the Roman governor. But the crowd shouted louder and louder for Jesus’ death, and their voices prevailed.”

Acts 4:26-28 – “‘The kings of the earth prepared for battle; the rulers gathered together against the Lord and against His Messiah.’ That is what has happened here in this city! For Herod Antipas, Pontius Pilate the governor, the Gentiles, and the people of Israel were all united against Jesus, Your holy Servant, whom You anointed. In fact, everything they did occurred according to Your eternal will and plan.”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Be Silent Before His Accusers

Psalm 35:11 – “Malicious witnesses testify against me. They accuse me of things I don’t even know about.”

Isaiah 53:7-8a – “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet He never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, He did not open His mouth. From prison and trial they led Him away to His death.”

Fulfillment

Matthew 27:12-14 – “But when the leading priests and other leaders made their accusations against Him, Jesus remained silent. ‘Don’t you hear their many charges against You?’ Pilate demanded. But Jesus said nothing, much to the governor’s great surprise.”

Mark 15:3-5 – “Then the leading priests accused Him of many crimes, and Pilate asked Him, ‘Aren’t You going to say something? What about all these charges against You?’ But Jesus said nothing, much to Pilate’s surprise.”

1 Peter 2:22-23 – “He never sinned, and He never deceived anyone. He did not retaliate when He was insulted. When He suffered, He did not threaten to get even. He left His case in the hands of God, who always judges fairly.”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Be Smitten And Spat Upon

Micah 5:1 – “Mobilize! Marshal your troops! The enemy is laying siege to Jerusalem. With a rod they will strike the leader of Israel in the face.” Isaiah 50:6 – “I give My back to those who beat Me and My cheeks to those who pull out My beard. I do not hide from shame, for they mock Me and spit in My face.”

Fulfillment

Matthew 26:67-68 – “Then they spit in Jesus’ face and hit Him with their fists. And some slapped Him, saying, ‘Prophesy to us, You Messiah! Who hit You that time?’”

Matthew 27:30 – “And they spit on Him and grabbed the stick and beat Him on the head with it.”

Mark 14:65a – “Then some of them began to spit at Him, and they blindfolded Him and hit His face with their fists.” 

Mark 15:19 – “And they beat Him on the head with a stick, spit on Him, and dropped to their knees in mock worship.”

John 19:1-3 – “Then Pilate had Jesus flogged with a lead-tipped whip. The soldiers made a crown of long, sharp thorns and put it on His head, and they put a royal purple robe on Him. ‘Hail! King of the Jews!’ they mocked, and they hit Him with their fists.”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Be Mocked And Taunted

Psalm 22:7-8 – “Everyone who sees Me, mocks Me. They sneer and shake their heads, saying, ‘Is this the One who relies on the Lord? Then let the Lord save Him! If the Lord loves Him so much, then let the Lord rescue Him!’”

Fulfillment

Matthew 27:39-40 – “And the people passing by shouted abuse, shaking their heads in mockery. ‘So! You can destroy the Temple and build it again in three days, can You? Well then, if You are the Son of God, save Yourself and come down from the cross!’”

Luke 23:11, 35 – “Now Herod and his soldiers began mocking and ridiculing Jesus. Then they put a royal robe on Him and sent Him back to Pilate. The crowd watched, and the leaders laughed and scoffed. ‘He saved others,’ they said, ‘let Him save Himself if He is really God’s Chosen One, the Messiah.’”

Prophecy

The Messiah To Die By Crucifixion, With Pierced Hands And Feet

Psalm 22:14-16 – “My life is poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax, melting within Me. My strength has dried up like sunbaked clay. My tongue sticks to the roof of My mouth. You have laid Me in the dust and left Me for dead. My enemies surround Me like a pack of dogs; an evil gang closes in on Me. They have pierced My hands and feet.”

Zechariah 12:10a – “Then I will pour out a spirit of grace and prayer on the family of David and on all the people of Jerusalem. They will look on Me whom they have pierced and mourn for Him as for an only son.”

Fulfillment

Matthew 27:31 – “When they were finally tired of mocking Him, they took off the robe and put His own clothes on Him again. Then they led Him away to be crucified.”

Mark 15:20 – “When they were finally tired of mocking Him, they took off the purple robe and put His own clothes on Him again. Then they led Him away to be crucified.”

John 19:15-16 – “‘Away with Him,’ they yelled. ‘Away with Him – crucify Him!’ ‘What? Crucify your king?’ Pilate asked. ‘We have no king but Caesar,’ the leading priests shouted back. Then Pilate gave Jesus to them to be crucified.”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Suffer With Sinners

Isaiah 53:12a – “I will give Him the honors of One who is mighty and great, because He exposed Himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners.”

Fulfillment

Matthew 27:38 – “Two criminals were crucified with Him, their crosses on either side of His.”

Mark 15:27 – “Two criminals were crucified with Him, their crosses on either side of His.”

Luke 23:32-33 – “Two others, both criminals, were led out to be executed with Him. Finally, they came to a place called The Skull. All three were crucified there – Jesus on the center cross, and the two criminals on either side.”

Prophecy

The Messiah’s Garments Will Be Divided By Casting Lots

Psalm 22:18 – “They divide My clothes among themselves and throw dice for My garments.”

Fulfillment

Matthew 27:35 – “After they had nailed Him to the cross, the soldiers gambled for His clothes by throwing dice.” 

Mark 15:24 – “Then they nailed Him to the cross. They gambled for His clothes, throwing dice to decide who would get them.”

John 19:23-24a – “When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they divided His clothes among the four of them. They also took His robe, but it was seamless, woven in one piece from the top. So they said, ‘Let’s not tear it but throw dice to see who gets it.’ This fulfilled the Scripture that says, ‘They divided My clothes among themselves and threw dice for My robe.’”

Prophecy

The Messiah’s Bones Will Not Be Broken

Numbers 9:12 – “They must not leave any of the lamb until the next morning, and they must not break any of its bones. They must follow all the normal regulations concerning the Passover.”

Zechariah 12:10b – “…and they will look to me—the one whom they pierced.'” Then they will  mourn for him, as for an only son. They will grieve bitterly for him, as for a firstborn son.”

Fulfillment

John 19:31-37 – “The Jewish leaders didn’t want the victims hanging there the next day, which was the Sabbath (and a very special Sabbath at that, because it was the Passover), so they asked Pilate to hasten their deaths by ordering that their legs be broken. Then their bodies could be taken down. So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the two men crucified with Jesus. But when they came to Jesus, they saw that He was dead already, so they didn’t break His legs. One of the soldiers, however, pierced His side with a spear, and blood and water flowed out. This report is from an eyewitness giving an accurate account; it is presented so that you also can believe. These things happened in fulfillment of the Scriptures that say, ‘Not one of His bones will be broken,’ and ‘They will look on Him whom they pierced.’” 1 Corinthians 5:7b – “Christ, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed for us.”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Die As A Sin Offering

Isaiah 53:5-6, 8, 12 – “But He was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on Him the guilt and sins of us all. From prison and trial they led Him away to His death. But who among the people realized that He was dying for their sins – that He was suffering their punishment? I will give Him the  honors of One who is mighty and great, because He exposed Himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.”

Fulfillment

John 1:29 – “The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, ‘Look! There is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” 

Acts 10:43 – “He is the One all the prophets testified about, saying that everyone who believes in Him will have their sins forgiven through His name.”

Acts 13:38-39 – “Brothers, listen! In this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in Him is freed from all guilt and declared right with God – something the Jewish law could never do.”

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 – “I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me – that Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and He was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said.”

Ephesians 1:7 – “He is so rich in kindness that He purchased our freedom through the blood of His Son, and our sins are forgiven.”

1 Peter 2:24 – “He personally carried away our sins in His own body on the cross so we can be dead to sin and live for what is right. You have been healed by His wounds.”

Revelation 1:5b – “All praise to Him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by shedding His blood for us.”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will See His Seed

Isaiah 53:10-11 – “But it was the Lord’s good plan to crush Him and fill Him with grief. Yet when His life is made an offering for sin, He will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the Lord’s plan will prosper in His hands. When He sees all that is accomplished by His anguish, He will be satisfied. And because of what He has experienced, My Righteous Servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for He will bear all their sins.”

Fulfillment

Ephesians 1:4-5, 21-23 – “Long ago, even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes. His unchanging plan has always been to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ. And this gave Him great pleasure. Now He is far above any ruler or authority or power or leader or anything else

in this world or in the world to come. And God has put all things under the authority of Christ, and He gave Him this authority for the benefit of the church. And the church is His body; it is filled by Christ, who fills everything everywhere with His presence.”

Hebrews 12:2 – “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, on whom our faith depends from start to finish. He was willing to die a shameful death on the cross because of the joy He knew would be His afterward. Now He is seated in the place of highest honor beside God’s throne in heaven.”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Be Buried In A Rich Man’s Tomb

Isaiah 53:9 – “He had done no wrong, and He never deceived anyone. But He was buried like a criminal; He was put in a rich man’s grave.”

Fulfillment

Matthew 27:57-60 – “As evening approached, Joseph, a rich man from Arimathea who was one of Jesus’ followers, went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’ body. And Pilate issued an order to release it to him. Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a long linen cloth. He placed it in his own new tomb, which had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a great stone across the

entrance as he left.”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Be Raised From The Dead

Psalm 16:10 – “For You will not leave my soul among the dead or allow Your Godly One to rot in the grave.”

Psalm 30:3 – “You brought me up from the grave, O Lord. You kept me from falling into the pit of death.”

Fulfillment

Matthew 28:5-7 – “Then the angel spoke to the women. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said. ‘I know you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead, just as He said would happen. Come, see where His body was lying. And now, go quickly and tell His disciples He has been raised from the dead, and He is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there. Remember, I have told you.’”

Mark 16:6-7 – “The angel said, ‘Do not be so surprised. You are looking for Jesus, the Nazarene, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He has been raised from the dead! Look, this is where they laid His body. Now go and give this message to His disciples, including Peter: Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see Him there, just as He told you before He died.’”

Acts 2:27-31 – “‘For You will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. You have shown me the way of life, and You will give me wonderful joy in Your presence.’ Dear brothers, think about this! David wasn’t referring to himself when he spoke these words I have quoted, for he died and was buried, and his tomb is still here among us. But he was a prophet, and he knew God had promised with an oath that one of David’s own descendants

would sit on David’s throne as the Messiah. David was looking into the future and predicting the Messiah’s resurrection. He was saying that the Messiah would not be left among the dead and that His body would not rot in the grave.’”

1 Corinthians 15:17, 20 – “And if Christ has not been raised, then your faith is useless, and you are still under condemnation for your sins. But the fact is that Christ has been raised from the dead. He has become the first of a great harvest of those who will be raised to life again.’”

Prophecy

The Messiah Will Sit At God’s Right Hand

Psalm 110:1 – “The Lord said to my Lord, ‘Sit in honor at My right hand until I humble Your enemies, making them a footstool under Your feet.’”

Fulfillment

Mark 16:19 – “When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, He was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.”

Acts 2:32-36 – “This prophecy was speaking of Jesus, whom God raised from the dead, and we all are witnesses of this. Now He sits on the throne of highest honor in heaven, at God’s right hand. And the Father, as He had promised, gave Him the Holy Spirit to pour out upon us, just as you see and hear today. For David himself never ascended into heaven, yet he said, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit in honor at My right hand until I humble Your enemies, making them a footstool under Your feet.”’ So let it be clearly known by everyone in Israel that God has made this Jesus whom you crucified to be both Lord and Messiah!”

Hebrews 10:12-13 – “But our High Priest offered Himself to God as one sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then He sat down at the place of highest honor at God’s right hand. There He waits until His enemies are humbled as a footstool under His feet.”

On the Intercession of the Saints

There is a constant uproar from the Protestant sector regarding the Catholic and the ancient practice of asking the saints for their prayers and their intercession. They insist that there is no Biblical evidence for what they consider to be “Praying TO the saints”. The power of life and of death is in the hands of God, yet, He relegates his authority to others that are living. Doctors are able to save lives. If I see someone drowning, I can jump in and save them. It doesn’t make God any less responsible, but the fact remains that the person was saved by a man (or woman). The view that Protestants present regarding what they perceive as problematic theology is a very narrow view, and places God into a box, and everyone else living or dead on the outside with no ability to touch the divine or to be instruments of the divine. It is not the practice of the Catholics to pray to Mary in the sense that Protestants perceive. If I ask you to pray for me to the Lord our God, I am not praying to you at all. I am asking you to intercede on my behalf, to beseech God for me. That doesn’t mean that I am worshiping you. And as Christ Himself said, He is the God of the living. The saints are alive and in His presence. Yet, they remain a very real part of the Church, of the Body of Christ. Thus, my asking Mary to pray for me the Lord our God is no different than my asking you to pray for me.

There is particularly a large outcry against the Catholic veneration of Mary. Catholic Christians do not “pray to” the Mother of God instead of God; we seek her intercession before her Son, asking her to pray on our behalf; another Byzantine Rite hymn states that “the prayers of a mother availeth much before her Son.” Catholics do NOT worship the Theotokos; they do venerate her exactly as the angel did. 

A sample prayer: 

“It is truly right to bless you, O Theotokos (God-Bearer), ever-blessed and most pure, and the Mother of our God. More honorable than the Cherubim and more glorious beyond compare than the Seraphim, without corruption you gave birth to God the Word, True, Theotokos, we magnify you.” 

Her name is mentioned in every service, and her intercession before the throne of God is asked. She is given the title of “Theotokos” (Greek for “Birth-giver-of-God), as well as “Mother of God”. She has a definite role in Catholicism, and can in no way be considered an instrument which, once used, was laid aside and forgotten.

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to announce to the Virgin the birth of the Saviour: “Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women.” (Luke 1:28) This angelic salutation forms a part of the hymn of the Church most frequently sung in her honor. Could we be wrong in repeating the words of the very messenger of God? Elizabeth, the Virgin’s cousin, considered it an honor for the Mother of her Lord to visit her. “And whence is this to me that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Luke 1:43) Is there any real difference between saying “Mother of God” and “Mother of the Lord”? Surely, God is the Lord! (Psalm 118:27) In the course of her visit to Elizabeth, the Blessed Virgin spoke the words that form the principal hymn sung in her honor at the Matins service.

The consequences of denying the Theotokos a part in the life of Christians are more serious than one may think in view of all its implications. Catholic theology insists upon the two perfect natures of our Lord Jesus Christ; He was perfect God and perfect Man. The Virgin Mary communicated the humanity of the Incarnate God. The redemption of the human race was possible through the union of God and man in Christ. De-emphasis of the sinlessness of Christ’s Mother, insistence upon her having other children by Joseph (which cannot be demonstrated by the New Testament), and failure to remember her part in the history of the salvation of mankind have contributed to a general misunderstanding in some churches of the Incarnation in all its fullness and power. Very closely related to the above-mentioned things is the denial of the virgin birth of Christ, a rather popular feature of present-day liberal theology. After the virgin birth, the next basic teaching under attack is the divinity of Christ and His resurrection, and with that, the Holy Trinity Itself.

The Virgin Mary in the Catholic view is not regarded as a mediatrix or co-redemptress. She is an intercessor for us, and the content of supplications addressed to her are merely requests for her intercession.

As to the general intercession of saints, there are multiple examples in the Holy Writ. Rachel was long dead (see Gen. 48:7) and departed from the earth during the Babylonian exile when Jeremiah wrote: “Thus saith the LORD; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, [and] bitter weeping; Rachel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they [were] not. Thus saith the LORD; Refrain thy voice from weeping, and thine eyes from tears: for thy work shall be rewarded, saith the LORD; and they shall come again from the land of the enemy.” (Jeremiah 31:15-16). The Lord answered her prayer. Again when Herod slaughtered the innocents, Matthew tells us: “In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping [for] her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not” (Matthew 2:18). 

In the story about Lazarus and the rich man in Luke 16, Christ illustrates that even the rich man in hell showed concern for the people still living. How much more would those in heaven show concern. The saints are not dead; they are more alive than we are. The Sadducees did not believe in the Resurrection. Jesus told them, “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.” (Luke 20:36-38).

In the book of Revelation we find the human saints (Rev.5:8) in heaven and the heavenly saints (Rev. 8:3-4) in heaven offering to God the prayers of those still on earth: “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.” (Rev. 5:8) and “And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer [it] with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, [which came] with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.” (Rev. 8:3-4).If we aren’t permitted to direct our prayers to them, where do they get our prayers? We know “the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much” (James 5:16). Those saints in heaven have already been made perfect (Heb.11:40, 12:23). 

On earth the saints continue to sin: “For a just [man] falleth seven times” (Proverbs 24:16). Sin affects the effectiveness of our prayers:“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear [me]” (Psalm 66:18)and “And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:22). We seek prayer partners in the presence of God who have ceased from all sin, along with prayer partners on earth. Paul tells us: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset [us], and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:1-2). When we are looking to Jesus and have our eyes on Jesus we are surrounded by these saints in heaven. 

Furthermore, the Bible clearly commands us to follow the teachings passed down to us in word, in letter and by mouth ( 2 Thessalonians 2:15).It also says that all of the things that Jesus said and did could not be written down or they would fill the earth ( John 21:25 ). The Church fathers of the first and second centuries, those that physically walked with Christ taught us of the intercession of the saints. Thus, Biblically speaking, to not accept the teachings of the Church fathers is transgressing the command of Christ and the apostles. Because they did teach the intercession of the saints, I choose to believe them rather than a RECENT (1500’s) Protestant innovation or not. 

BIBLICAL AND PATRISTIC EVIDENCE

Book of Tobit (~ 200 – 100 BC)

When thou didst pray with tears… I [Archangel Raphael] offered thy prayer to the Lord.

Hermas (+80)

“[The Shepherd said:] ‘But those who are weak and slothful in prayer, hesitate to ask anything from the Lord; but the Lord is full of compassion, and gives without fail to all who ask him. But you, [Hermas,] having been strengthened by the holy angel [you saw], and having obtained from Him such intercession, and not being slothful, why do not you ask of the Lord understanding, and receive it from him?’” (The Shepherd 3:5:4).

St. John the Evangelist (+101)

And another angel came, and stood before the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given to him much incense, that he should offer of the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar, which is before the throne of God. And the smoke of the incense of the prayers of the saints ascended up before God from the hand of the angel.

Egyptian Liturgy for the Nativity of Christ (200s)

Beneath thy tenderness of heart we take refuge, O Theotokos, disdain not our supplications in our necessity, but deliver us from perils, O only pure and blessed one.

Clement of Alexandria (+208)

“In this way is he [the true Christian] always pure for prayer. He also prays in the society of angels, as being already of angelic rank, and he is never out of their holy keeping; and though he pray alone, he has the choir of the saints standing with him [in prayer]” (Miscellanies 7:12).

Origen(+233)

“But not the high priest [Christ] alone prays for those who pray sincerely, but also the angels . . . as also the souls of the saints who have already fallen asleep” (Prayer 11)

Cyprian of Carthage (+253)

“Let us remember one another in concord and unanimity. Let us on both sides [of death] always pray for one another. Let us relieve burdens and afflictions by mutual love, that if one of us, by the swiftness of divine condescension, shall go hence first, our love may continue in the presence of the Lord, and our prayers for our brethren and sisters not cease in the presence of the Father’s mercy” (Letters 56[60]:5).

Methodius (+305)

“Hail to you forever, Virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for to you do I turn again. You are the beginning of our feast; you are its middle and end; the pearl of great price that belongs to the kingdom; the fat of every victim, the living altar of the Bread of Life [Jesus]. Hail, you treasure of the love of God. Hail, you fount of the Son’s love for man.

. . . You gleamed, sweet gift-bestowing Mother, with the light of the sun; you gleamed with the insupportable fires of a most fervent charity, bringing forth in the end that which was conceived of you . . . making manifest the mystery hidden and unspeakable, the invisible Son of the Father—the Prince of Peace, who in a marvelous manner showed himself as less than all littleness” (Oration on Simeon and Anna 14).

“Therefore, we pray [ask] you, the most excellent among women, who glories in the confidence of your maternal honors, that you would unceasingly keep us in remembrance. O holy Mother of God, remember us, I say, who make our boast in you, and who in august hymns celebrate the memory, which will ever live, and never fade away” (ibid.).

“And you also, O honored and venerable Simeon, you earliest host of our holy religion, and teacher of the resurrection of the faithful do be our patron and advocate with that Savior God, whom you were deemed worthy to receive into your arms. We, together with you, sing our praises to Christ, who has the power of life and death, saying, ‘You are the true Light, proceeding from the true Light; the true God, begotten of the true God’” (ibid.).

Cyril of Jerusalem (+350)

“Then [during the Eucharistic prayer] we make mention also of those who have already fallen asleep: first, the patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, that through their prayers and supplications God would receive our petition . . . ” (Catechetical Lectures 23:9).

Hilary of Poitiers (+365)

“To those who wish to stand [in God’s grace], neither the guardianship of saints nor the defenses of angels are wanting” (Commentary on the Psalms 124:5:6).

Ephraim the Syrian (+370)

“You victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Savior, you who have boldness of speech toward the Lord himself, you saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us so that we may love him” (Commentary on Mark).

“Remember me, you heirs of God, you brethren of Christ; supplicate the Savior earnestly for me, that I may be freed through Christ from him that fights against me day by day” (The Fear at the End of Life)

The Liturgy of St. Basil (A.D. 373)

“By the command of your only-begotten Son, we communicate with the memory of your saints . . . by whose prayers and supplications have mercy upon us all, and deliver us for the sake of your holy name” 

St. Ephraim the Syrian (+373)

Remember me, ye heirs of God, ye brethren of Christ, supplicate the Saviour earnestly for me, that I may be freed through Christ from him that fights against me day by day. Ye victorious martyrs who endured torments gladly for the sake of the God and Saviour; ye who have boldness of speech towards the Lord Himself; ye saints, intercede for us who are timid and sinful men, full of sloth, that the grace of Christ may come upon us, and enlighten the hearts of all of us that so we may love him.

Gregory of Nyssa (+380)

“[Ephraim], you who are standing at the divine altar [in heaven] . . . bear us all in remembrance, petitioning for us the remission of sins, and the fruition of an everlasting kingdom” (Sermon on Ephraim the Syrian)

Letter of the Second Ecumenical Council to Emperor St.Theodosius the Great (Constantinople, 381 AD)

May God by the prayers of the Saints, show favour to the world, that you may be strong and eminent in all good things as an Emperor most truly pious and beloved of God.

St. Cyril of Jerusalem (+386)

We then commemorate also those who have fallen asleep before us, first, patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs, that God, by their prayers and intercessions, may receive our petitions. 

George Bebis on the Cappadocian Fathers

 “In one of his letters, St. Basil (+379) explicitly writes that he accepts the intercession of the apostles, prophets and martyrs, and he seeks their prayers to God. (Letter 360)Then, speaking about the Forty Martyrs, who suffered martyrdom for Christ, he emphasizes that they are common friends of the human race, strong ambassadors and collaborators in fervent prayers. (Chapter 8) “

St. Gregory of Nyssa (+395-400)

asks St. Theodore the Martyr …to fervently pray to our Common King, our God, for the country and the people (Encomium to Martyr Theodore). “The same language is used by St. Gregory the Theologian (+390) in his encomium to St. Cyprian. (Gen. 44: 2 and Encomium to Julian, Iuventinus and Maximinus, 3).”

St. Basil the Great, of Caesarea in Asia Minor (+379)

According to the blameless faith of the Christians which we have obtained from God, I confess and agree that I believe in one God the Father Almighty; God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Ghost; I adore and worship one God, the Three. I confess to the oeconomy of the Son in the flesh, and that the holy Mary, who gave birth to Him according to the flesh, was Mother of God. I acknowledge also the holy apostles, prophets, and martyrs; and I invoke them to supplication to God, that through them, that is, through their mediation, the merciful God may be propitious to me, and that a ransom may be made and given me for my sins. Wherefore also I honour and kiss the features of their images, inasmuch as they have been handed down from the holy apostles, and are not forbidden, but are in all our churches. We beseech you, O most holy martyrs, who cheerfully suffered torments and death for his love, and are now more familiarly united to him, that you intercede with God for us slothful and wretched sinners, that he bestow on us the grace of Christ, by which we may be enlightened and enabled to love him. O holy choir! O sacred band! O unbroken host of warriors! O common guardians of the human race! Ye gracious sharers of our cares! Ye co-operators in our prayer! Most powerful intercessors! 

St. Gregory the Theologian, Patriarch of Constantinople; of Nazianzus in Asia Minor (+389-390)

Mayest thou [Cyprian] look down from above propitiously upon us, and guide our word and life; and shepherd [or shepherd with me] this sacred flock … gladdening us with a more perfect and clear illumination of the Holy Trinity, before Which thou standest. 

John Chrysostom (+392)

“He that wears the purple [i.e., a royal man] . . . stands begging of the saints to be his patrons with God, and he that wears a diadem begs the tentmaker [Paul] and the fisherman [Peter] as patrons, even though they be dead” (Homilies on Second Corinthians 26).

“When you perceive that God is chastening you, fly not to his enemies . . . but to his friends, the martyrs, the saints, and those who were pleasing to him, and who have great power [in God]” (Orations 8:6)

St. Gregory of Nyssa in Lower Armenia (+395-400)

…I wish to commemorate one person who spoke of their noble testimony because I am close to Ibora, the village and resting place of these forty martyrs’ remains. Here the Romans keep a register of soldiers, one of whom was a guard ordered by his commander to protect against invasions, a practice common to soldiers in such remote areas. This man suffered from an injured foot which was later amputated. Being in the martyrs’ resting place, he earnestly beseeched God and the intercession of the saints. One night there appeared a man of venerable appearance in the company of others who said,”Oh soldier, do you want to be healed [J.167] of your infirmity? Give me your foot that I may touch it.” When he awoke from the dream, his foot was completely healed. Once he awoke from this vision, his foot was restored to health. He roused the other sleeping men because he was immediately cured and made whole. These men then began to proclaim the miracle performed by the martyrs and acknowledged the kindness bestowed by these fellow soldiers…. We who freely and boldly enter paradise are strengthened by the [martyrs’]intercession through a noble confession in our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Do thou, [St. Ephraim the Syrian] that art standing at the Divine altar, and art ministering with angels to the life-giving and most Holy Trinity, bear us all in remembrance, petitioning for us the remission of sins, and the fruition of an everlasting kingdom.

St. Ambrose of Milan (+397)

May Peter, who wept so efficaciously for himself, weep for us and turn towards us Christ’s benignant countenance.

St. John Chrysostom, Patriarch of Constantinople; b.Antioch, Syria (+407)

When thou perceivest that God is chastening thee, fly not to His enemies . . . but to His friends, the martyrs, the saints, and those who were pleasing to Him, and who have great power [parresian, “boldness of speech”]. He that wears the purple, laying aside his pomp, stands begging of the saints to be his patrons with God; and he that wears the diadem begs the Tent-maker and the Fisherman as patrons, even though they be dead. “[St. John]says that we should seek the intercession and the fervent prayers of the saints, because they have special “boldness” (parresia), before God.(Gen. 44: 2 and Encomium to Julian, Iuventinus and Maximinus, 3).”

St. Jerome (+419)

If the Apostles and Martyrs, while still in the body, can pray for others, at a time when they must still be anxious for themselves, how much more after their crowns, victories, and triumphs are won! One man, Moses, obtains from God pardon for six hundred thousand men in arms; and Stephen, the imitator of the Lord, and the first martyr in Christ, begs forgiveness for his persecutors; and shall their power be less after having begun to be with Christ? The Apostle Paul declares that two hundred threescore and sixteen souls, sailing with him, were freely given him; and, after he is dissolved and has begun to be with Christ, shall he close his lips, and not be able to utter a word in behalf of those who throughout the whole world believed at his preaching of the Gospel? And shall the living dog Vigilantius be better than that dead lion?

St. Augustine of Hippo, in North Africa (+430)

At the Lord’s table, we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps.

CONCLUSION

This is only a small fraction of the pieces of evidence from the early Church. The list goes on and on… by refusing to accept their instruction and testimony, anyone that denies that the saints intercede, transgresses the commands of the apostles. The weak argument of insisting that the Bible doesn’t say so is easily disproven. Scripture never says that Scripture is the sole infallible authority for God’s Word. Matt. 28:20 – “observe ALL I have commanded,” but, as we see in John 20:30; 21:25, not ALL Jesus taught is in Scripture. So there must be things outside of Scripture that we must observe. Mark 16:15 – Jesus commands the apostles to “preach,” not write, and only three apostles wrote. The others who did not write were not less faithful to Jesus, because Jesus gave them no directive to write. Luke 1:1-4 – Luke acknowledges that the faithful have already received the teachings of Christ, and is writing his Gospel only so that they “realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.” John 20:30; 21:25 – Jesus did many other things not written in the Scriptures. These have been preserved through the oral apostolic tradition and they are equally a part of the Deposit of Faith. Acts 8:30-31; Heb. 5:12 – these verses show that we need help in interpreting the Scriptures. We cannot interpret them infallibly on our own. We need divinely appointed leadership within the Church to teach us. Protestants, however, continue to attempt to interpret the words of the Saviour for themselves, which explains exactly why there are thousands upon thousands of Protestant denominations. As soon as a group disagrees with a teaching of their denomination, they splinter off and form their own denomination over and over until all that is left is a husk of Christianity filled with the very man-made teachings that they insist that they stand against. 

On the Evils of Slanderous Speech

This is by no means all-inclusive, it is merely a starting point.  This list is being created for the purpose of reminding the Holy body of Christ, the Catholic Church, of the evil that we allow into our lives, at times, unwittingly.  If each of us reads just one of these daily and strives to prevent ourselves from speaking evil or slander, then this world will be a much better place, and the body of Christ will be more complete!  If you know of a bible verse or Patristic quote that applies, please message me and I will get it added.  I appreciate any help that you provide, and will credit you at the bottom of the post for your assistance.  Please spread this note around to all of your Orthodox friends and let’s make it our goal, to reduce the evil speech and slander that goes on in this world by each and every one of us purifying our own tongues from this wickedness.

BIBLE QUOTES REGARDING EVIL SPEECH:

  • “You shall not go about as a slanderer among your people, and you are not to act against the life of your neighbor; I am the Lord.” – Leviticus 19:16
  • “To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.” – Proverbs 8:13
  • “He who utters slander is a fool.” – Proverbs 10:18
  • “He who guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” – Proverbs 13:3
  • “A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” – Proverbs 15:1
  • “An ungodly man plots evil, and his speech is like a scorching fire.” – Proverbs 16:27
  • “He who mocks the poor insults his Maker.” – Proverbs 17:5
  • “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” – Proverbs 18:21
  • “…let not the slanderer be established in the land.” – Proverbs 140:11
  • “Glory and dishonor come from speaking, and a man’s tongue is his downfall.  Do not be called a slanderer, and do not lie in ambush with your tongue.” – Sirach 5:13-14
  • “A slip of the tongue is worse than a slip on the pavement; the wicked will go to ruin just as suddenly as a person slips and falls.” – Sirach 20:18
  • “Curse the whisperer and deceiver, for he has destroyed many who were at peace.  Slander has shaken many and scattered them from nation to nation, and destroyed strong cities, and overturned houses of great men.  Slander has driven away courageous women and deprived them of the fruit of their toil.  Whoever pays heed to slander will not find rest, nor will he settle down in peace.” – Sirach 28:12-16 
  • “Beware of useless murmuring, and keep your tongue from slander.  Because, no secret word is without result, and a lying mouth destroys the soul.” – Wisdom 1:11
  • ‎”You brood of vipers!  How can you speak good, when you are evil.  For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.  The good man out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure brings forth evil.  I tell you on the Day of Judgment men will render account for every careless word they utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words, you will be condemned.” – Matthew 12:34-37
  • “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” – Ephesians 4:29
  • “If any man among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue, but deceives his heart, this man’s religion is vain.” – James 1:26
  • “Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark.  The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” James 3:5-6
  • “With the tongue, we praise our Lord and Father, and with it, we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. 10 Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” – James 3:9-10
  • “Do not speak evil against one another, brethren.  He that speaks evil against a brother or judges his brother speaks evil against the law and judges the law.  But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law, but a judge.” – James 4:11
  • “But now put them all away; anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth.  Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” – Colossians 3:8-10
  • “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful and beneficial to others.” – Colossians 4:6

PATRISTIC QUOTES REGARDING EVIL SPEECH:

“We must answer for every superfluous word, even more so for every shameful word” – St. Gregory the Theologian

“They say that most of the people in hell are those who murdered with malicious words!” – Elder Arsenie (Papacioc)

“We and our brothers are dual images: whenever a man is attentive to himself and reproaches himself he finds his brother to be virtuous; but when he thinks that he himself is good, he finds his brother to be evil in his sight.” – Saint Poimen

“Busy yourself with your own faults, and not with other people’s and the workshop of your mind will not be despoiled.” – Saint Mark the Ascetic.

“The chief cause of criticism and slander is pride and egotism, for man thinks himself better [than others]. For this reason, it is very beneficial for a person to think of himself as smaller than all, so that he sees the brother as better, in order that he may, with the help of God, be delivered from this evil.” – Elder Ephraim of Philotheou 

“If something pushes you to criticism about some business or other of a brother or of a monastery, you, rather, try to pray about the matter, without passing it under judgment of your reason.” – Elder Ephraim of Philotheou”

Criticism is a serious sin, just as it is likewise serious when someone does not bear the weaknesses of his neighbor.” – Elder Ephraim of Philotheou

“My children, avoid criticism, a very great sin. God is grieved whenever we criticize and loathe people. Let us concern ourselves only with our own faults, for these let us feel pain; let us criticize ourselves and then we will find mercy and grace from God.” – Elder Ephraim of Philotheou”

How much hope there is for those who do not trust in themselves too much and are not overly-critical of others! And how little hope for those whose orientation is the opposite!” – Father Seraphim Rose

‎”He who quarrels consoles the devil; he who makes peace gladdens Christ.” – Saint John Maximovich

“One who spreads words of evil from one person to another is the messenger of Satan!” – Saint John Saba

“It is better to eat meat and drink wine and not to eat the flesh of one’s brethren through slander.” – Abba Hyperechius

Against The Sola Scriptura of the Protestants

The Protestant doctrine of sola scriptura is not biblical, and thus, by its own argument, completely irrelevant. The writings of the Church Fathers and the councils, both regional and ecumenical, reveal that sola scriptura was completely alien to the thought and life of the early Church. ‘I praise you, that you remember me in all things and keep the traditions just as I handed them on to you,’ and Hold fast to the traditions that you were taught whether by an oral statement or by a letter of ours’.   I know what most Protestants will immediately think, more as a knee jerk reaction than an educated statement… “But that’s not in the Bible” is an overused argument, by those that claim to follow the Bible fully, but conveniently overlook all of the following:

Scripture never says that Scripture is the sole infallible authority for God’s Word. Matt. 28:20 – “observe ALL I have commanded,” but, as we see in John 20:30; 21:25, not ALL Jesus taught is in Scripture. So there must be things outside of Scripture that we must observe. Mark 16:15 – Jesus commands the apostles to “preach,” not write, and only three apostles wrote. The others who did not write were not less faithful to Jesus, because Jesus gave them no directive to write. Luke 1:1-4 – Luke acknowledges that the faithful have already received the teachings of Christ, and is writing his Gospel only so that they “realize the certainty of the teachings you have received.” John 20:30; 21:25 – Jesus did many other things not written in the Scriptures. These have been preserved through the oral apostolic tradition and they are equally a part of the Deposit of Faith. Acts 8:30-31; Heb. 5:12 – these verses show that we need help in interpreting the Scriptures. We cannot interpret them infallibly on our own. We need divinely appointed leadership within the Church to teach us. Acts 15:1-14 – Peter resolves the Church’s first doctrinal issue regarding circumcision without referring to Scriptures. Acts 17:28 – Paul quotes the writings of the pagan poets when he taught at the Aeropagus. Thus, Paul appeals to sources outside of Scripture to teach about God. 1 Cor. 5:9-11 – this verse shows that a prior letter written to Corinth is equally authoritative but not part of the New Testament canon. 1 Cor. 11:2 – Paul commends the faithful to obey apostolic tradition and not Scripture alone. Phil. 4:9 – Paul says that what you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do. There is nothing ever about obeying Scripture alone. Col. 4:16 – this verse shows that a prior letter written to Laodicea is equally authoritative but not part of the New Testament canon. 1 Thess. 2:13 – Paul says, “when you received the word of God, which you heard from us. 1 Thess. 3:10 – Paul wants to see the Thessalonians face to face and supply what is lacking. His letter is not enough. 2 Thess. 2:15 – the fullness of the Gospel is the apostolic tradition which includes either teaching by word of mouth or by letter. Scripture does not say “letter alone.” 2 Thess 3:6 – Paul instructs us to obey apostolic tradition. 1 Tim. 3:14-15 – Paul prefers to speak and not write, and is writing only in the event that he is delayed and cannot be with Timothy. 2 Tim. 2:2 – Paul says apostolic tradition is passed on to future generations. 2 Tim. 3:14 – continue in what you have learned and believed knowing from whom you learned it. James 4:5 – James even appeals to Scripture outside of the Old Testament canon.

To avoid falling into the same trap of using only scripture in an effort to disprove sola scriptura, I have compiled a few patristic quotes as evidence on the subject of scriptural authority. A favorite quote of a Church Father by Protestants, is the following from Basil of Cesarea: Therefore, let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the Word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth” However, if we are to use this as an argument for the Protestant cause, we must first prove that this is not taken out of context by comparing this quote with other writings of Basil. Here is where the argument fails… “Of the beliefs and practices whether generally accepted or enjoined which are preserved in the Church, some we possess derived from written teaching; others we have delivered to us in a mystery by the apostles by the tradition of the apostles; and both of these in relation to true religion have the same force” (On the Holy Spirit, 27). Here, we see Basil of Cesarea blatantly state that the tradition of the elders carries the same weight as that of the Biblical canon. Another favorite seems to be Saint Athanasius: “The holy and inspired Scriptures are sufficient of themselves for the preaching of the truth” (Contra Gentiles 1:1), as well as “These books [of canonical Scripture] are the fountains of salvation, so that he who thirsts may be satisfied with the oracles contained in them. In these alone, the school of piety preaches the Gospel. Let no man add to these or take away from them” (39th Festal Letter). The problem with using only these two quotes from the body of Athanasius’ writings is that in the first quote, the saint was instructing his flock as to what could and could not be read at Church as “Scripture.” The second quote falls apart with the following quote, also from the Saint: “The very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning was preached by the apostles and preserved by the Fathers. On this the Church was founded; and if anyone departs from this, he neither is nor any longer ought to be called a Christian” (Ad Serapion 1:28) Again, the saint clearly demonstrates a belief in, and reliance upon sacred tradition. As far as the quotes of Saint Cyril, favored by Protestants, I won’t bother to quote them because Saint Cyril also wrote on infallible teaching office of the Catholic Church (18:23), the Mass as a sacrifice (23:6-8), the concept of purgatory and the efficacy of expiatory prayers for the dead (23:10), the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist (19:7; 21:3; 22:1-9), the theology of sacraments (1:3), the intercession of the saints (23:9), holy orders (23:2), the importance of frequent Communion (23:23), baptismal regeneration (1:1-3; 3:10-12; 21:3-4), all of which are specifically “Catholic” doctrines. Thus, to select a small quote that aides in the Protestant purpose and reject the full body of writings which specifically promote the teachings of the Catholic Church and promote the tradition of the apostles is in itself, a fallacy.

Taking this into account, the Protestant doctrine of dismissing the mysteries/sacraments is also faulty.  Interestingly enough, Protestants who claim to follow the scriptures, seem to miss these mysteries/sacraments which are clearly referenced in the Bible, and in their hatred of the Catholic Church from which they themselves were born, have relegated the mysteries/sacraments to idolatrous practice. If the Protestants did, in fact, participate in the mysteries/sacraments, they would no longer be Protestant but would have, in essence, rejoined the body of Christ. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments”. Thus, the mysteries/sacraments which were instituted by Christ and His Holy Apostles are not, in any way, something that a Christian can choose to participate in. They are OBLIGATIONS. Therefore, anyone not participating in them has removed themselves from the body of Christ. Re institution of the mysteries/sacraments constitutes rejoining to the body of Christ. Since this goes against Protestant teaching, it stands to reason that any former Protestant who is a practitioner of the Mysteries/Sacraments would no longer be a Protestant at all.  

Baptism. Scripture shows that John’s baptism was a symbol of repentance, but not a sacrament. It did not confer grace. In the Acts, it is clear that those who received Christian baptism also received the Holy Spirit, had their sins forgiven and became members of Christ, and thus of the Church. It is the foundational mystery/sacrament, the only one Philip thought necessary to confer on the Ethiopian eunuch. Matthew 3:16; Matthew 28:19; Mark 1:8; Mark 16:16; John 3:5; Acts 1:4-5; Acts 2:38; Acts 8:16; Acts 8:36-38; Acts 11:16; Acts 16:15; Acts 16:33; Acts 18:8; Acts 19:3-6; Acts 22:16; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 5:25-26; Col. 2:12; 1 Peter 3:20-21, and many others.

Confirmation/Chrismation. Completes Baptism by a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit and enables the Christian for mission. This was seen at Pentecost with respect to the apostles. In the early Church, it was often accompanied by charismatic signs, though these are not intrinsic to the mystery/sacrament. Conferred by the laying on of hands. In Acts 19:3-6, especially, it is clear that John’s baptism, Christian baptism, and Confirmation are all distinct realities. Also, in Hebrews 6:2 baptizing and laying on of hands are distinguished. Isaiah 44:3; Ezekiel 39:29; Joel 2:28; John 14:16; Acts 2:4; Acts 8:14-17; Acts 19:3-6; Hebrews 6:2. 

Eucharist/Communion. The Eucharist is visibly bread and wine but is, in reality, the Body and Blood of Christ. No mere symbols can effect eternal life. And abuse of no mere symbol can be worthy of damnation. In the early centuries, the name of the Mass was the breaking of the bread. Yet, when word got out of what the Eucharist really was the Romans accused Christians of sacrificing babies and cannibalism because they heard they ate human flesh. Matthew 26:26-29; Luke 24:35; Acts 2:42; 1 Cor. 11:24-27;

Penance/Reconciliation. Christ gave authority, the keys, to the apostles to forgive sin, to decide between absolving or retaining guilt. This requires “confession” of sins for this judgment not to be arbitrary, hence the popular name of the mystery/sacrament. This authority was passed on to bishops, and from them to priests, with ordination. Matthew 16:19; John 20:21-23; Rev. 1:18.

Anointing of the Sick/Unction. Anointing prepares the person for death, and only incidentally may produce physical healing. The salvation and resurrection spoken of in James are in the first place spiritual. James 5:14-15.

Holy Orders. The threefold division of sacred ministers (bishops, priests and deacons) prefigured in the Old Law (high priest, priests, Levites) is clearly revealed in Scripture. Yet, most so-called “bible-believing” Protestant churches do not have them. Acts 6:3-6; Acts 13:2-3; 1 Tim. 3:1; 1 Tim. 3:8-9; 1 Tim. 4:14; 1 Tim. 4:16; 1 Tim. 5:17-19; 1 Tim. 5:22.

Matrimony/Marriage. Marriage is, as St. Paul states, a mystery (mysterion). The Latin word used to translate mysterion is “sacramentum”. The sacraments are mysteries (as Eastern Christians still call them), for one thing, is visible and something else is known by faith. By faith, matrimony is a sign of Christ and the Church, as well as a special calling. Mt. 19:10-11; Eph. 5:31-32.

Considering what is aforementioned, this arouses a problem of professing to believe what is written, while at the same time, not practicing it.  Most Protestants recognize only the importance of Baptism and of Communion. However, even this is flawed as the lack of belief in transubstantiation renders the Eucharist, from an Orthodox perspective, invalid. Thus, Protestants also do not participate in the mystery/sacrament of communion. Many do not anoint the sick either.  (unless of course, you accept that not believing in the real presence of Christ in the communion host constitutes communion). Furthermore, Protestants are famous for having invented many different formulas for Baptism. In fact, many have even developed the idea that Baptism is not necessary for salvation at all, and do not require Baptism to be considered a Christian.  

One simply cannot call oneself a Christian and not participate in the Mysteries of the faith.  It is not possible in any way, shape or form to be part of the body without participating in and being connected to the lifeblood of the body.  A body part not connected to the blood source, will wither and die, and more importantly, infect and destroy other parts surrounding it. You are either a Christian, or you are not.  And if you are not a member of a Church that celebrates each and every one of the mysteries/sacraments, then you are not of Christ, nor are you in Christ. You are alone, apart from the body, you are the chaff that will be separated from the grain and you will be thrown into the fire.