Saturday, May 19, 2018

dialogue between a Muslim and I

Here is a dialogue between a Muslim and I on my youtube channel, under the video on Aramaic in the gospels. Notice the Muslim uses some very old, yet awful reasoning. My comments are under "me" and his under "you."

Yes he certainly wasn’t a traitor - nor was he a self obsessed narcissist who claimed divinity and asked to be worshipped alongside the Only True God (the Father - the ONLY ‘person’ in the ‘Godhead’) - in direct violation of the first commandment. Rather he was a Holy humble servant and worshipper of God. Jesus didn’t expect people to submit to him - he expected to be obeyed as any prophet is sent to be obeyed because a prophet ‘doesn’t speak of his own authority’ but is simply conveying Gods commands. Obedience and apparent ‘submission’ to the prophet is therefore actual obedience and ‘submission’ to God. John 16:7 needs to be reconciled with John 14:16 otherwise there is a contradiction of who is doing the sending. It’s a simple reconciliation. John 16:7 is interpreted as : Jesus will send him. How? By PRAYING to the Father (the Only True God) to send him. Aside from the fact that John 14 is a total and complete disaster for your trinity: where you have ‘person 2’ of the ‘Godhead’ praying to ‘person 1’ to send ‘person 3’ and then ‘person 1’ sending ‘person 3’ after ‘person 2’ leaves - but you also have the problem with the Holy Spirit clearly being around during Jesus’s ministry. A Trinitarian reading of John 14 has God praying to God to send God but God can’t send God until God goes but only after God goes can God then send God ūü§Ē God doesn’t PRAY like a servant God isn’t SENT like an errand boy. Rather God is prayed TO Rather God SENDS and gives orders Being SENT and PRAYING implies subordination. What kind of pathetic excuses for Gods are these 2? Not to mention that neither the ‘Son’ or ‘Holy Spirit’ know when the day of Judgement is (Matthew 24:36) - it’s pretty clear which ‘person’ is the True God here. Muhammad is the ‘Spirit of Truth’ and the ‘Prince of the World’ of John 14:30 who came and FULFILLED John 14:31. How? John 14:31 is implying a vindication - and that’s exactly what Muhammad Ô∑ļ did. He VINDICATED Jesus. We have the Jews vilifying him for being an instigator of idolatry. And we have the Christians ‘feeding’ the Jews with ammunition to carry on vilifying him by insisting Jesus claimed divinity and taught the blasphemous trinity! So who’s fighting poor Jesus’s corner? Who’s representing the true Jesus? Well, God sent the ‘Ahmed’ of the Gentiles to vindicate Jesus. We now have a billion plus Muslims who fight Jesus’s corner and portray the true Jesus. The Jews can’t refute the Muslim Jesus but can easily refute your Jesus. Islam is the true middle path with regards to Jesus - between the VILIFICATION of the Jews and the DEIFICATION of the Christians. Islam already has the world’s largest religious denomination (Sunni islam) and will soon be the biggest religion in the world. That means the largest unified belief about Jesus will very soon be the Muslim belief. This is a complete fulfilment of John 14:31. Additionally, to imply that God (which the Holy Spirit supposedly is) can’t ‘speak on his own authority’ is blasphemy. God can’t speak on his own authority?? “But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth (complete religion for the world). For He will NOT speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will tell you what is yet to come” - John 16:13 “And he (Muhammad Ô∑ļ) is NOT speaking of his own desires, it is all simply a revelation sent down to him” - Quran 53:3-4

me: If you want to call Muhammad "prince of the world" be my guest--because if you actually knew the New Testament its an expression for Satan. Go ahead call Muhammad Satan!!! "World" likewise Is an expression for evil and sin in the New Testament and John's gospel:

Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out--John 12:31

John 16 says the Holy Spirit will convict the world and the "ruler" or "prince" of the world will be condemned, who you say is your prophet Muhammad:

because the ruler of this world has been condemned--John 16:11

you: "self obsessed narcissist who claimed divinity and asked to be worshipped alongside the Only True God (the Father - the ONLY ‘person’ in the ‘Godhead’) - in direct violation of the first commandment. Rather he was a Holy humble servant and worshipper of God."

me: He was not a narcisstic, but made clear He receives the same honor the Father receives. He own Apostles regularly fell prostrate on the floor before Him. Jesus claimed to be able to be in more than one place at once, and Is present among his believer when they pray. The Apostle John states Jesus is God in John 1:1, and in verse 3 says all things were made through him.  In John 17 Jesus prays to His Father to restore the glory He had with the Father at the beginning of time. 

By the way, John 14:26 plainly has Jesus saying the Spirit of Truth aka the Paraclete is the HOLY SPIRIT:

The Advocate, the holy Spirit that the Father will send in my name—he will teach you everything and remind you of all that [I] told you.--John 14:26

Its not Muhammad, btw, Islam stole the Idea of the Paraclete being their prophet from the Manichieans. Jesus was speaking to the Apostles, and if He mean Muhammad, then Jesus lied since Muhammad would not be born for almost 580 years after.

You: He is the Prince of the World and the Master/Leader/Lord (Sayyid) of the Messengers…. If you wish to say that John 14:30 is referring to Satan then you be my guest. If the ‘Prince of the world’ means something else somewhere else in your bible then that’s your problem. It’s not my fault your bible contradicts itself every other page.

Me: “Prince of the World”= Satan, I will say it again, Protestant, Catholics, and Orthodox agree on this. You are being deceptive, you say the Bible is contradictory (but never prove it), yet you fail to show a single verse in the Bible where the title “prince of the World” is a holy title to have. To be part of the World in the New Testament means to be under the power of Satan, so to be “prince of the World” means the person is Satan. Show me the contradiction, you cited John 16 too, yet John 16 says the Prince of the World Is evil also because it says he will be damned to Hell. John 1 explains the world is in darkness, and Jesus comes to bring light to it.  I have no issue if you wish to cite a passage about Muhammad being the devil, frankly, we know about his deeds, he took his step sons wife, he claimed God said its ok to have sex slaves who are still married to their husbands, he married a little girl.  If Muhammad is not Satan, he is sure close to it, what good is preaching monotheism if it permits sins Jesus, Holy is His Name, said will send the Soul to damnation? Jesus said taking another wife/husband is adultery, yet Muhammad permits it. That is your own problem. But I know the fact is, most Muslims know nothing about the New Testament outside of usually John 14, where they also conveniently skip verse 6 where Jesus uses titles for himself that Muslim says are exclusive to Allah, “I am the way, the truth, the life” and says “I am the Light of the World.” He is the light because the world is evil and He exposes it.  John 14:23 Jesus said He will DWELL inside of us, how can he be a mere man? Jesus answered and said to him, “Whoever loves me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our dwelling with him.”  The same chapter says Jesus will answer prayers too!

you said: If Jesus explicitly seemingly refers to the ‘Holy Spirit’ then this is still ok. In Muslim theology the Holy Spirit is Gabriel - not God. And it was Gabriel who conveyed the Quran (whatsoever he will hear he will speak) to Muhammad.

me: Nice try! Gabriel in Matthew 1:35 says he is not the Holy Spirit! Jesus gives His Apostles the Holy Spirit in John 20:22-23 by breathing on them saying, receive the Holy Spirit! Whose sins you forgive—are forgiven!  Furthermore, John 3:5 says you must be born of “water and Spirit” This is not Gabriel, Gabriel cannot forgive sins, people cannot receive Gabriel, or be born of Gabriel. Either way, you have to jump through hoops to make it Muhammad. Jesus gives instructions that all nations are to be baptized in the “
in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.” Yet you think this is Gabriel? Luke 1:15 says St John the Baptist, was “filled with the Holy Spirit from his mother’s womb” Likewise, Luke 1:41 and 67 say John’s parents were both filled with the Holy Spirit. The Angel Gabriel when speaking to Mary says “the Holy Spirit will come upon you…” in order to conceive Jesus. Luke 1:26 explicitly says this angel is GABRIEL. St Luke who wrote the gospel of Luke immediately after wrote the book of Acts which is all about miracles the Holy Spirit performed after It entered Christians.  John 14:26 says the Paraclete will reminds the Apostles of things Jesus said, what did Muhammad remind them of? They all were dead. Furthermore, let’s say it’s not just about the Apostles, what did Mohammad remind people of that Jesus said? Muhammad rejected Jesus’ commandments therefore, he did not love Jesus according to Jesus’ own words in John 14:15.

you said: He is widely regarded as the most influential, successful and chronicled Abrahamic prophet in human history by impartial historians.

me: You sound like Donald Trump. Successful? Well he did get lots of money off of his religion, he did get lots of women to have sex with.  He had to get an army, his message failed to spread initially by peace.  You brag about the “most” yet Jesus and the Torah warn about the majority, telling us things like “do not follow the majority” “will there be faith when the Son of Man returns?” Islam is just part of humanities resistance to the truth of Christ, just another means of Satan to attack humanity by making them follow an oppressive system. Most religious Muslim nations are terrible places to be, Muslims flee in droves to Western, non Muslim nations, so why do you go and brag about “x, y, z” is Muslim. Almost no one when given the choice wants to live under Muslim rule, including many Muslims. By the way, name one non-Muslim historian that says this.

you: He has brought more people to the God of Abraham and Pure Abrahamic/Mosaic (non trinity) 1st commandment Monotheistic doctrine than ALL the prophets before him combined.

Me: only true if you ignore Trinity, because that had more people. Islam is partly successful because it feeds men’s sinful desires—cravings for sex and power. The Teachings of the Lord Jesus promote CELIBACY, condemn divorce and remarriage, discourage seeking wealth, promotes self sacrifice to the point you must be willing to accept martyrdom at the hands of unbelievers. We do not die expecting to have sex with women that sound like whore with plastic surgery in heaven, Jesus said there is no marriage, procreation and so on in Heaven, we will live like angels.

you: He has eradicated more idolatry worldwide than ALL the other prophets combined. He has been responsible for more prostrations carried out in monotheistic worship to the God of Abraham on the face of this earth than ALL the previous prophets combined.

me: God does not accept Muslim worship. Islam does not even know if God is omnipresent. To Christians it is obvious He is everywhere, since the universe exists within God, otherwise God would be limited/finite. We do not say such nonsense like “God has no left hand, only two right hands.” Yes, leaving idol worship is good, but these people will still be destine for Hell if they follow Muhammad’s teachings or believe many of the passages of the Quran which permit what we know to be damnable sin. What good is it for someone to worship the true God if their role model to follow was a sex addict with sex slaves, a child bride, a man that tortured people, a man that claimed the Quran came from God, but have “revelations” that are obviously to benefit himself or are foolish like not lingering at Muhammad’s house too long, or his special permission to have more wives. 

you: His life, sayings, scripture, law and teachings have been better preserved than ALL the previous prophets combined.

me: Actually, we know more about Joseph Smith than Muhammad, he is another false prophet, that we call “America’s Muhammad.” We know more about Joseph Smith than Muhammad and all other previous “prophets” combined. So what? Generally with new religions they are better documented, which is why people are leaving Islam and Mormonism because the documentation about how evil these men were is revealed.

you: He has brought ALL the land promised to Abraham in Genesis 15:18-21 to the God of Abraham and Pure Abrahamic Monotheism.

Me: Israel is not Muslim. Furthermore, this was for the Jews. No one else. This was accomplished in David and Solomon’s time, but because of sin, they lost most of the land.

You: All the land Jesus preached and walked on and all the surrounding lands have all become followers of his religion.

me: This is deceptive. Many of these people’s ancestors converted by force, or to improve their status in society. People accepted Jesus’ teaching because it was clear He was actually sent by God, raised the dead, sealed the sick, cured the blind, preached mercy, forgiveness, and said He was sent to die for the sins of humanity. Most of His Apostles were killed preaching the Holy Gospel.  Muhammad made an army. The indigenous people of these lands are not Muslim. Ethnic Syrian, Lebanese, Egyptian, Greek people are still Christians, not Muslims. Arab Muslims took over their lands by force, yet you think this is a great feat.

you: His followers have had Temple Mount for the last 1300 years.

Me: On and off. Furthermore, many Muslims deny the temple was even there, so why do you call it that? People don’t take it from you because everyone know Muslims will become more violent and terroristic, it is in the interest of humanity to not encourage more Muslim terrorism.

You: His scripture (the words put into the mouth of the prophet like Moses : Deuteronomy 18:18) have become the most recited and memorised words in human history. He has taught over a billion Gentiles to love the Holy prophets and love Jesus and revere his mother Mary as the most pious women who ever walked the earth.

Me: Deuteronomy 18:18 was fulfilled by the Lord Jesus, since He is a Jew. Muhammad is not a Jew, and the verse is about “your brethren” eg JEWS. Many Muslims have no clue who Jesus is, Jesus drank wine, said adultery was a sin, said lust was a sin, and said He is equal to God being His only Son! If Islam loved Jesus they would admit He was the most Pious man to ever walk the Earth too—he was SINLESS. Even the Quran mentions God creating through Jesus, quoting a story of Him creating birds. He also taught people that idol worshippers/homosexuals like Alexander the Great were prophets.

You: And according to you, there’s no mention of this ‘insignificant’ individual and all the above events in your supposed book ‘full of prophesies’!!!

Me: I never said that, we believe Muhammad and other false prophets are warned about by Jesus, Paul, and John. In fact, St Paul, long before Muhammad made the SPECIFIC point. No wonder Islam hates St Paul! But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach [to you] a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed!==Galatians 1:8. Jesus warned about reports of wars, persecution and the rise of “Many false prophets will arise and deceive many;”—Matthew 24:11.  Christians believe it is no longer prophet to follow a prophet after Jesus, since He is the Son of God. Muhammad in any way you twist him, will always be inferior to Jesus, Jesus you know was born of a Virgin, created birds, healed people—Muhammad did none of this. He defiled virgins and wives, and killed people.

You: That’s actually laughable and embarrassing for you. Forgive us for trying to add veracity to your bible and make a suggestion that Jesus may have mentioned him.

me: Again, Jesus and Paul mention false prophets who will have great success that teach doctrine different from the New Testament. Muhammad fits this description.

You: Muhammad was LIKE Moses.

Me: Muhammad was not an Israel, that alone disqualifies him.

You: All the Israelite prophets after Moses including Jesus weren’t LIKE Moses, rather they were UNDER Moses and UNDER his law and studied the scripture of Moses. Moses didn’t study the scripture of a previous prophet and wasn’t under the law of a previous prophet.

Me: Moses’ had to follow the traditions the Jews received Abraham, the Mosaic law is not a fresh law, it was built off of by the previous prophets. God gave laws to Noah in Genesis 10-11, and laws to Abraham.

You: Rather Moses received a fresh law and a fresh scripture and a fresh nation.

Me: Israel existed as a nation generations before Moses, Israel is the name of Jacob—the ancestor of Moses, and even then, God said to Abraham “I will make you into a nation.” So do not claim this is a “fresh” nation, it’s not, no practicing Jew believes this. Any time some writes scripture its generally “fresh.” Albeit, much of the Quran is plagiarized, even what “Allah” says in Chapter 1 is actually a Jewish rabbi.

You: In this way, Muhammad was LIKE Moses. A mighty law bringing prophet who received a fresh law, scripture, and nation and who didn’t study the Torah and was never UNDER its law.

Me: He was raised by his mother and sister, who were Israelites, they passed on the traditions from Abraham. Read Exodus 1, it says the Hebrew midwives did not kill the male babies because “they feared God” how can they fear him if they had no law? Genesis 22 says God gave the law to Abraham.

You: Muhammad’s ‘nation’ are the new nation and new ‘tenants’ who received the ‘Kingdom of God’ after the Israelite rejection of Jesus and John the Baptist prophesied by Jesus in Matthew 21:33-44.

Me: Jesus spoke to the Jews who rejected him, this prophecy was fulfilled right after, not 600 years later. Furthermore, Jesus said the last person the Father sent after all the prophets who were killed was “His Son” who the Jews killed also. “FINALLY, he sent his son to them…”—Matthew 21:37.  Jesus preached the kingdom of God came right then! He gave St Peter in Matthew 16:18 the “keys of the Kingdom” which means it was already present! 1 Peter 2 says Christians are a “holy nation” and “kingdom.” Matthew 21:31 says “I say to you, tax collectors and prostitutes are entering the kingdom of God before you.” The Jews lost their land long before Muhammad, they were banished a generation after killing Jesus, this parable has nothing to do with actual land. It had to do with being in God’s favor. By the way, this parable is about WINE, you Muslims believe you cannot drink it on earth.

You: Jews are Abrahamic Monotheists who rejected Jesus and John - lost the Kingdom of God Muslims are Abrahamic Monotheist who LOVE Jesus and John - inherited the Kingdom of God and Temple Mount

Me: Jesus gave plain rules on how to love him, Muslims do not do this, Jesus said you must “keep MY commandments”(John 14:15) and His commandments are not to follow future false prophets, not to divorce and remarry, that drinking wine is not a sin, that He is to be HONORED EQUAL to the FATHER.  When preaching about loving him, he also says “the prince of this world….has NO power over me.” Meaning the Devil, who you believe to be Muhammad, is certainly inferior to Jesus. Again, if you loved Jesus, Jesus said He and the Father will DWELL inside you, “If any one love me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and will make our abode with him."—John 14:23

You: Christians don’t count as they don’t even know what Abrahamic Monotheism is and the meaning of the first commandment.

Me: Jesus is God, otherwise, he is a false prophet, since He describes himself in ways only God can, then expects the same Honor God gets. Either way, Islam is wrong.

you: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; the Lord has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes’” - Matthew 21:42 The Ishmaelites and other gentiles have now become the ‘cornerstone’ and chosen nation over the Israelites after their rejection of Jesus and John “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; The Holy Kaba has become the cornerstone and has now overtaken Jerusalem and become the most visited temple dedicated to the God of Abraham in history and the greatest prayer direction in human history

Me: Matthew 21:42 was fulfilled in Jesus’ own time, he and those in Him are stone.  Furthermore, I see no evidence from the Bible that Ishmaelites are Arabs. There was some intermixing, but Arabs pre-existed Abraham, since Jews believe some of those tribes listed in Genesis 15 are actually Arab.  This Scripture of the stone being rejected is frequently cited in the New Testament about Jesus, none of us think it’s literally talking about an actual stone. Jesus established Christianity then and there.  We don’t obsess over praying to a certain city.  We just prefer praying facing East since we expect Christ to return in that direction and that Is on of His titles. The kaba is just a rock, who cares. Abraham didn’t go that far south, he sacrifice in what is now Israel, and afterwards he stayed in Beer-sheba which is just south of Palestinian territory.

You: . ‘Satan’ doesn’t come and preach Abrahamic Monotheism and oppose and fight and eradicate idolatry and bring an entire pagan nation to Old Testament 1st commandment Monotheism like Muhammad did.

Me: Satan will trick a man into think God has 3 daughters—the exalted cranes. Satan will convince a man that marrying a child is ok. Satan will convince a man that he can permit what Jesus forbade as sin. Satan can permit a prophet to give permission to rape married women. Satan will tell men you can have lots of sex in heaven. Satan will tell you Jews and Christians corrupted the Scriptures (a lie Muhammad did not even claim in the Sunnas!) Satan will tell you the man you believe is a prophet has the title “prince of the world” since that is also Satan’s own title. Satan will create rival religions to try to destroy the true, older religion. Satan will mix lies with true. Satan will tell people Muhammad is greater than Jesus despite Jesus being WAY more holy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Muslim Apologist inadvertently calls Muhammad Satan

I made a video years ago, tongue in cheek, saying the Aramaic New Testament uses the word "Muslim" (the word in Aramaic as is used in passages means traitor, and is used of Judas).

A clever Muslim apologist responded using the old argument Muhammad=Spirit of Truth=Paraclete and also this:

Certainly Muhammad is not the Spirit of Truth.

However, he asserts Muhammad, the great prophet of Islam, is the "ruler of the World." I have been defeated by a Muslim, I cannot disprove this claim, therefore it must be true :))

Now is the time of judgment on this world; now the ruler of this world will be driven out--John 12:31

because the ruler of this world has been condemned--John 16:11

Saturday, March 24, 2018

St John's birth mother and spiritual mother

John's gospel never mentions himself by name, in fact he seems to omit his own mother's name.

Many know the fact that the Apostle John was present at the crucifixion and that one of the Lord's last words on the Cross were ones giving the Virgin Mary to the Apostle John:

Jesus saw his mother and the disciple there whom he loved, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son.” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother.” And from that hour the disciple took her into his home. --John 19:26-27
Even more strange, is the fact that when Jesus gave  the Virgin mother to John--the other gospel accounts tell us John's own mother was present when that happened:
Among them were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee--Matthew 27:56
James, the son of Zebedee, and his brother John--Matthew 10:2
The mother of John and James wanted her sons to be seated next to Christ in the Kingdom, though Jesus seemed to rebuke that request, Matthew 19:28 tells us the Apostles will be seated on thrones along side Christ judging the 12 tribes. The Apostle John would go on to write 5 books of the New Testament: John's gospel, 1-3 Epistles of John, and the Book of Revelation.  James, however, would be martyred in Acts 12 and would never write Scripture. Jesus nicknamed the brothers the "sons of thunder"

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Edgar Allan Poe and the Virgin Mary

At morn — at noon — at twilight dim —
Maria! thou hast heard my hymn!
In joy and woe — in good and ill —
Mother of God, be with me still!
When the hours flew brightly by,
And not a cloud obscured the sky,
My soul, lest it should truant be,
Thy grace did guide to thine and thee;
Now, when storms of Fate o’ercast
Darkly my Present and my Past,
Let my Future radiant shine
With sweet hopes of thee and thine!

--Edgar Allan Poe, (Catholic) Hymn (1835)

Saturday, November 11, 2017

A Hell empty of humans is unreasonable hope

In the past I made a very long response to a Modernist theologian on why Catholic theology cannot tolerate Hans Ur Von Balthasar's hypothesis that Hell might be empty of humans.

This view was adopted as valid by current Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, Robert Barron. On YouTube comments section I made several arguments (over a few years), most of the time he seems to ignore or dismiss my arguments, or misunderstand what I am disagreeing with. He does seem to be eager to address people making absurd arguments against him.

I must say, Michael Voris, a person whose tactics, speech and so on I completely cannot stand, made a video in which he attempts to rebuke Bishop Barron, however, despite tossing around their various degrees, did an awful job of making their argument.

Recently, I came across a priest's article that pointed out this excellent reference found in the Council of Trent that states not everyone will benefit from the Passion of Christ:
But, though He died for all, yet do not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only unto whom the merit of His passion is communicated...--Council of Trent, Session VI, Chapter 3: Who are justified through Christ
Now, had Trent wanted to leave universalism as possibility it could have omitted "yet do not all receive the benefit of His death." Which could imply that maybe everyone can receive the benefit of His death. Here is the back and forth I had in the comments section with the Bishop Barron (or whoever responds with his account):
Me: Dogmatically, a Catholic cannot believe universalism at all, even as just a "reasonable hope." The council of Trent on its Decree on Justification plainly states not everyone will benefit from His death: But, though He died for all, yet do not all receive the benefit of His death, but those only unto whom the merit of His passion is communicated.--Council of Trent, Session 6, Chapter 3 
Bishop Barron: Not so. That language is conditional. 
Me: What is the conditional language if it reads "not all receive the benefit of His death"? Had the council said instead, "only unto those whom the merit of His passion is communicated receive the benefit of His death" might there be still a possibility for universalism being true ultimately because hypothetically all could have had the "merit of His passion...communicated", but the council explicitly added "not all receive the benefit of His death" which removes the possibility for all humans being saved on That Day.  

Obviously, the language of the council here was not hypothetical. A friend of mine, suggested perhaps this section of the council is not dogmatic, but only the canons are, however, the preface to Session VI of Trent states: "Christ Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, taught, which the apostles transmitted, and which the Catholic Church, the Holy Ghost reminding her thereof, has always retained; most strictly forbidding that any henceforth presume to believe, preach, or teach, otherwise than as by this present decree is defined and declared. "

As I point out in my older article, Pope John Paul II (now St) actually rejected von Balthasar's idea, and even mentions von Balthasar by name
"The problem of hell has always disturbed great thinkers in the Church, beginning with Origen and continuing in our time with Sergey Bulgakov and Hans Urs von Balthasar. In point of fact, the ancient councils rejected the theory of the "final apocatastasis," according to which the world would be regenerated after destruction, and every creature would be saved; a theory which indirectly abolished hell. But the problem remains. Can God, who has loved man so much, permit the man who rejects Him to be condemned to eternal torment? And yet, the words of Christ are unequivocal. In Matthew's Gospel He speaks clearly of those who will go to eternal punishment (cf. Mt 25:46). Who will these be? The Church has never made any pronouncement in this regard. This is a mystery, truly inscrutable, which embraces the holiness of God and the conscience of man. The silence of the Church is, therefore, the only appropriate position for Christian faith. Even when Jesus says of Judas, the traitor, "It would be better for that man if he had never been born" (Mt 26:24), His words do not allude for certain to eternal damnation.).”—Pope John Paul II, Crossing the Threshold of Hope, Chapter 28: Does Eternal Life Exist? c.AD 1994 (emphasis mine)
However, Pope John Paul II in his spoken General Audience, July 28, 1999 made a statement that some interpret as him accepting von Balthasar's theory as being with in orthodoxy, in the original form he said:

“La dannazione rimane una reale possibilit√†, ma non ci √® dato di conoscere, senza speciale rivelazione divina, se e quali esseri umani vi siano effettivamente coinvolti.”—Papa Giovanni Paolo II,  Udienza Generale, 28 luglio 1999 (Original text)

“Eternal damnation remains a real possibility, but we are not granted, without special divine revelation, the knowledge of whether or which human beings are effectively involved in it.” --Pope John Paul II, General Audience, July 28, 1999 (Original text)

However, what is frequently omitted in this assertion is that this text was edited by the Vatican soon after it was published (though it stayed a while in English and Italian), in fact, any trace of it has been removed from the official text. Now, it reads
La dannazione rimane una reale possibilit√†, ma non ci √® dato di conoscere, senza speciale rivelazione divina, quali esseri umani vi siano effettivamente coinvolti. Papa Giovanni Paolo II,  Udienza Generale, 28 luglio 1999. Present edit made during John Paul II's papacy (notice the omission of the original "if"/"whether" that is "se e")
Damnation remains a real possibility, but it is not granted to us, without special divine revelation, to know which human beings are effectively involved in it..”—Pope John Paul II, General Audience, July 28, 1999 (revised, edited translation now used on
In other translations, the correction was a lot swifter, notice they only say "which" and not "whether/if"

Spanish:“La condenaci√≥n sigue siendo una posibilidad real, pero no nos es dado conocer, sin especial revelaci√≥n divina, cu√°les [which plural] seres humanos [human beings] han quedado implicados efectivamente en ella.”

French:“La damnation demeure une possibilit√© r√©elle, mais il ne nous est pas donn√© de conna√ģtre, sans r√©v√©lation divine particuli√®re, quells [which plural] √™tres humains [human beings] sont effectivement concern√©s.”

Portugese:“A perdi√ß√£o continua uma real possibilidade, mas n√£o nos √© dado conhecer, sem especial revela√ß√£o divina, quais [which plural] os seres humanos [the human beings]  que nela est√£o efectivamente envolvidos.”

German:”Die Verdammnis bleibt eine wirkliche M√∂glichkeit. Aber uns ist es nicht bestimmt, sie zu kennen, ohne besondere g√∂ttliche Offenbarung, welche menschlichen Wesen wirklich darin verwickelt sind.”

So it is evident that since the change to the text was done during St John Paul II's papacy, implies that he and the Vatican wanted to avoid any implication that the Pope might suggest universalism is possible.

Likewise, just before his ascent to the Papacy, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI) stated, defending the language of "pro multis":

“This is why God’s all-embracing desire to save people does not involve the actual salvation of all men.  He allows us the power to refuse.”— Joseph Alois Cardinal Ratzinger, “Gott ist uns nah. Eucharistie: Mitt des Lebens” (God is Near Us: The Eucharist, The Heart of Life), Chapter II: God’s Yes and His Love Are Maintained Even in Death, point 2, p. 37 (concerning pro multis in the Mass.) Published June 1, AD 2003

This is consistent with Trent's statement and Crossing the Threshold of Hope.

Another critic of von Balthasar that's the point of the possibility of an empty Hell was discussed by the council and the Council found no need to make it clear since it was already seen as being clearly taught in Scripture itself:

In reference to the text from Vatican II it is to be noted that initially there was no reference to the "eternal fire." The reference was explicitly inserted at the request of many bishops. We know as well, from the official Relatio, that the text was not intended to speak of the salvation of all men.[45] From the same source we learned that "one bishop wanted a sentence to be included in which it would be clear that there are damned defacto, lest damnation remain as a mere hypothesis." The request was refused by the Theological Commission responsible for drafting the document, with the comment that "In no. 48 there are cited the words of the Gospel in which the Lord Himself speaks about the damned in a form which is grammatically future."[46] The significance of that remark is that when the Church speaks of damnation of humans she speaks, as Christ himself did, not in a form of grammar which is conditional (i.e., speaking about something which might happen), but in the grammatical future (i.e., about something which will happen). And it was with this understanding that the bishops of Vatican II voted upon and accepted Lumen Gentium.”—James T. O'Connor

In fact, the Catechism states:

"The affirmations of Sacred Scripture and the teachings of the Church on the subject of hell are a call to the responsibility incumbent upon man to make use of his freedom in view of his eternal destiny. They are at the same time an urgent call to conversion: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few.""—Catechism §1036 on Hell (notice it quotes Luke 13:24 and interprets it as being Hell) 

The Catechism, quoting Scripture states that the gate of destruction is entered "are many." If Christ said "many" enter by the wide gate of destruction, then how can we say potentially "no one" might ACTUALLY enter the wide gate.

On October 22, 2017, I personally met a member of the Roman Curia in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (granted it was not the head of it) on the issue of von Balthasar's theory which I mentioned by name, and he plainly stated the theory was ridiculous, and the idea that Hell is presently unpopulated is absurd.  He said he could go on for hours on how wrong von Balthasar's theory was.  He was shocked to know there are clergy, even a bishop that teach his hypothesis of "reasonable hope." My friend made a comment on a popular Catholic celebrity's Facebook referencing my inquiry to the member of the CDF, to which a person writing under the Facebook profile of Bishop Barron dismissed my discussion with the member of the CDF as "an appeal to authority." Here is a screen shot of the discussion with the names of peoples and places omitted.

I should also mention a few noteworthy American theologians (though they are not technically authorities) like the Servant of God, Fr John A. Hardon, SJ was very critical of Von Balthasar's theory.

as is Rev. Regis Scanlon who appeared recently on Church Militant with Michael Voris (I refuse to link to Voris' website) and several years ago wrote an article denouncing Balthasar using several citations from Scripture, Tradition and Magisterial documents. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Anti-Christ's comparisons to Christ

Here is a sort list of comparisons between Christ and anti-Christ(s).

Christ's death location: Jerusalem, or near the border of it on a hill.
Judas's death location: Jerusalem, or near the border of it, possibly on a hill.

Christ's death: Death by "hanging on a tree" (crucifixion).
Judas's death:  Death by hanging.

Christ's death: Opened up side, gushing water and blood
Judas's death: Opened up waist, gushing blood (and internal organs)

Christ's position: Son of the Father.
Barabba(s) name meaning: bar abba--son of the father.

Christ's name: Jesus.
Barabbas' name in some texts: Jesus.

Charge against Jesus: Revolutionary.
Charge against Barabbas: Revolutionary (and murderer).

Garment color worn by Christ at his death: Scarlet and Violet. (Matthew 27:28, Mark 15:17)
Garments color worn by the whore of Babylon: Scarlet and Violet. (Revelation 17:4, 18:16)

Title of Christ: Head of the Kings of the Earth, King of Kings (Revelation 1:5)
Title of Whore of Babylon: Reigns over the kings of the earth (Revelation 17:18)

State at death of Christ: Stripped naked.
State at death of the Whore of Babylon: Stripped naked.

Attitude of the Beast to Christ: Hatred.
Attitude of the Beast to the Whore of Babylon: Hatred.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

UFO religions and Scientology

Very little of Hubbard's "religion" is original--not surprising. Though perhaps incorporating psychology into a religion was new at the time, others certainly have done this since.  UFO religions were popular in the 1950's even before that there were a number of UFO cults in the 20's. Even a century earlier religious prophets like Swedenborg, Young, White were incorporating and claiming knowledge of extraterrestrial life. People were telling stories of people living on the Moon and the Sun, visiting planets in the solar system if not beyond, claiming Biblical characters lived there, since at this point much of the world had already been discovered--destroying the idea that there exists a secret, hidden, garden of Eden where people like Enoch and Elijah would live. Even some medieval philosophers were censured by the Church for rambling about people in other worlds. The Babylonian Talmud about the year AD400-600 offers the possibly explanation for a verse in Judges explaining people the star (or planet) Meroz were cursed for not coming to aid in a battle.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Baptism is for those not born again

Paul consistently taught that those receiving baptism are dead, meaning not saved prior to baptism. Only dead people get baptism according to Paul. He did not teach born again believers get baptized, he taught believers get baptized to become born again! According to St Paul we are buried in baptism--this alludes to being dunked in the water--this metaphor loses much meaning if the baptism is dry and the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Paul teaching baptism is death and resurrection, that is the burial of the old man and a resurrection with Christ thru faith:

in Him you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ; 12 having been BURIED WITH HIM in BAPTISM, in which you were also RAISED UP with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead. 13 When you were dead in your transgressions and the UNCIRCUMCISION of your flesh, He made you alive together with Him, having forgiven us all our transgressions--Colossians 2:11-13

Paul is saying people getting baptized are:
1) Dead and being buried with Jesus
2) Uncircumcised
3) Without forgiveness of sins
4) Are then made alive and resurrected with Christ through faith
5) Become 'circumcised'
6) Have the forgiveness of transgressions

Colossians 2 on baptism and Ephesians 2 (saved by grace through faith) are parallel passages

On top of this, Colossians 2 is a parallel passage of Ephesians 2 which teaches salvation by faith because of grace. Many of the terms are the same used, both chapter speak of "being dead in transgressions," "raised up" with Christ, being "circumcised." Then goes on like Colossians 2 about not being required to keep Mosaic dietary and ceremonial laws.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were DEAD in our TRANSGRESSIONS, made us ALIVE together WITH CHRIST (by grace you have been saved), 6 and RAISED UP with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through FAITH; and [h]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. 11 Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called “Uncircumcision” by the so-called “CIRCUMCISION,” which is performed in the flesh by human hands--Ephesians 2:4-11
So, the conclusion is Ephesians 2:8-9 passage teaching salvation by faith because of grace is about baptism itself, since its in the exact same place Paul puts in in Colossians 2!

Paul teaching Baptism is being clothed with Christ and links to being a son of God through faith

For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.--Galatians 3:26-27

Paul teaches baptism--"washing of regeneration" saves, not deeds

He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit --Titus 3:5

Paul teaching remission of sins by the mercy of God thru the "washing of regeneration" (baptism) and renewing by the Holy Spirit. This is the same teaching as Ephesians 2:8-9, Colossians 2:10-13, Acts 2:38

If Paul wanted to teach baptism was purely symbolic he sure failed by consistently mentioning baptism when talking about regeneration, being a son of God, being clothed with Christ, being raised alive with Christ.

Romans 6: Paul teaches Baptism is burial with Christ and resurrection, those getting baptized are considered dead and come up alive

Romans 6, Paul again teaches baptism=buried with Christ, going from dead in sins to new life:
How shall we who died to sin still live in it? Or do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus have been baptized into His death? Therefore we have been buried with Him through baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.--Romans 6:2-4

Then, Paul goes on to say that we were crucified with Christ! So. a person being baptized is crucified->buried->resurrected.

Paul was saved at baptism

Paul's conversion, when was Paul saved? He believed on the road to Damascus and when he appeared to Ananias, but was he saved? No.

Luke tells us what Paul died to wash away his sins--call on the Name and be baptized:

Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’--Acts 22:16

John 3 Jesus preaches on being born again then starts baptizing

John 3 Jesus preaches on the need to be born again, and mentions its by WATER AND SPIRIT. The rabbinical literature we have confirms baptism=new birth, yet Nicodemus did not understand this, which explains why Jesus is astonished he doesn't know what born again means. Immediately after Jesus preaches on new birth and that He is the Savior--that VERY first thing he does is baptize people:

After these things Jesus and His disciples came into the land of Judea, and there He was spending time with them and baptizing. --John 3:22

Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel says God cleanse iniquity with water and gives a new heart and His Spirit

Ezekiel teaching watered is used to cleans from "all uncleanness," "idols" then goes on to say He will give a new heart, and THEN place the Spirit with in you--same thing the NT, Paul, Jesus say about baptism--afterwards you are give the baptism of the Spirit, while the first baptism was Christ's.

And I will sprinkle CLEAN WATER upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep Mine ordinances, and do them.--Ezekiel 36:25

Does the New Testament teach the Holy Spirit Baptism saves and not water Baptism?

The "baptism of the Holy Spirit" in Acts caused the "speaking of the tongues" and was called the "gift of the Holy Spirit" which every time except in Acts 9 happened AFTER water baptism by laying on of hands.

the GIFT OF THE HOLY SPIRIT should have been poured out on the Gentiles also, they could hear them speaking in TONGUES and glorifying God.--Acts 10:45-46

As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them as it had upon us at the beginning, and I remembered the word of the Lord, how he had said, ‘John baptized with water but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’--Acts 11:15-16
Therefore, 'gift of the Holy Spirit'='speaking in tongues'='baptism of the Holy Spirit, and elsewhere ="laid hands" (Acts 19:3)

Gentiles were give the Holy Spirit prior to water baptism to show Jews they were accepted by God, every other instance in the NT water baptism comes first then Holy Spirit baptism

Was the "good thief" baptized?

The Bible does not tell us for certain, but we are told is that 1) Jesus baptized more than John, 2) John baptized all of Jerusalem and Judea, 3) many people apostatized because Jesus' teaching of "eating his flesh" and "drinking his blood." So if Jesus baptized more than John and John baptized the people of Judah and Jerusalem, its possible that the thief/insurrectionist may have been included, but apostacised as some of Jesus' disciples did when not believing Jesus' doctrine.
Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John--John 4:2

And ALL THE COUNTRY of JUDEA was going out to him, and ALL THE PEOPLE OF JERUSALEM, and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, confessing their sins.--Mark 1:5

As a result of this, many [of] his disciples returned to their former way of life and no longer accompanied him. --John 6:66
In conclusion, it IS possible the thief died baptized as a repentant apostate. Regardless, if he was or not, the NT does not say baptism is the SOLE means of becoming born again--ordinarily calling on the Name is part of baptism--but when not available--all those "who call upon the Name of the Lord will be saved."

Friday, January 6, 2017

The Todah Sacrifice: From Shadow to Substance

The following a copy of the article The Todah Sacrifice: From Shadow to Substance by Jacob Michael from his now defunct site

Link to this article by referencing this address:

There are several different classes of sacrifice outlined and described in the books of the Mosaic Law. The book of Leviticus in particular describes the Holocaust Offering, the Cereal Offering, the Sin Offering, the Guilt Offering, and the Peace Offering as general categories of sacrifices.
Within this last category, the Peace Offering, there is a particular kind of Peace Offering that is described in Leviticus 7:11-21. This offering is called by Leviticus the "thank offering," or the todah (toh-DAW) sacrifice. Leviticus describes it as follows:
If he offers [the Peace Offering] for a thanksgiving, then he shall offer with the todah offering unleavened cakes mixed with oil, unleavened wafers spread with oil, and cakes of fine flour well mixed with oil. With the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving he shall bring his offering with cakes of leavened bread. And of such he shall offer one cake from each offering, as an offering to the LORD; it shall belong to the priest who throws the blood of the peace offerings.
And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offerings for thanksgiving shall be eaten on the day of his offering; he shall not leave any of it until the morning. (Lev. 7:12-15)
The todah is described in this text as a regular Peace Offering (i.e., a blood sacrifice) to which is appended the offering of leavened bread. The one offering the sacrifice would, as with all Peace Offerings, share in eating the meat and bread of the todah sacrifice.
Since the Peace Offering in general was meant to signify a shared shalom between God and the one offering, a person who was unclean could not offer this sacrifice: "but the person who eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of the LORD's peace offerings while an uncleanness is on him, that person shall be cut off from his people. And if any one touches an unclean thing ... and then eats of the flesh of the sacrifice of the LORD's peace offerings, that person shall be cut off from his people." (Lev. 7:20-21)
In the Psalms we find a kind of general outline of the todah sacrifice:
Do I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving [todah; LXX: thusian aineseos], and pay your vows to the Most High; and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. (Ps. 50:13-15)
With the mention of "vows," calling upon God in times of trouble, being delivered by Him, and then glorifying Him for His deliverance, we have the basic structure of the todah sacrifice. Hartmut Gese explains:
The thank offering presupposes a specific situation. When someone is rescued from death, from an illness, or from persecution that poses a threat of death, then the divine deliverance is celebrated by a worship service built on a thank offering as a new foundation for the person's existence. Here he confesses ... God as deliverer in a thank offering (todah). He invites those who belong to his immediate community, contributes an animal for this particular zebah ["sacrifice" --jm] of thanksgiving, and in the meal offering celebrates with those invited the start of his new being. The essential element is that the thankful acknowledgement of God is expressed in a so-called song of thanks of the individual, which refers back to the time of troubles and "thinks on" (zkr) the deliverance and the experience of death and salvation. (Hartmut Gese, Essays on Biblical Theology [Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1981], p. 129)
Keeping this framework in mind, we now have a lens through which to view the Psalms, and through this lens, it is not difficult at all to pick out certain Psalms that may be classified as todah Psalms. A perfect example of this would be Psalm 69:
Save me, O God! For the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in deep mire, where there is no foothold; I have come into deep waters, and the flood sweeps over me. I am weary with my crying; my throat is parched. My eyes grow dim with waiting for my God ... I have become a stranger to my brethren, an alien to my mother's sons. For zeal for thy house has consumed me, and the insults of those who insult thee have fallen on me. (Ps. 69:1-3, 8-9)
From this lament, the Psalmist moves on to petition God for deliverance and vindication:
But as for me, my prayer is to thee, O LORD. At an acceptable time, O God, in the abundance of thy steadfast love answer me. With thy faithful help rescue me from sinking in the mire; let me be delivered from my enemies and from the deep waters. Let not the flood sweep over me, or the deep swallow me up, or the pit close its mouth over me. Answer me, O LORD, for thy steadfast love is good; according to thy abundant mercy, turn to me. Hide not thy face from thy servant; for I am in distress, make haste to answer me. Draw near to me, redeem me, set me free because of my enemies! (Ps. 69:13-17)
Lastly, the Psalmist proclaims his trust in God for deliverance, and witnesses to his brethren of his hope in God:
I will praise the name of God with a song; I will magnify him with thanksgiving [todah. This will please the LORD more than an ox or a bull with horns and hoofs. Let the oppressed see it and be glad; you who seek God, let your hearts revive. For the LORD hears the needy, and does not despise his own that are in bonds. Let heaven and earth praise him, the seas and everything that moves therein. For God will save Zion and rebuild the cities of Judah; and his servants shall dwell there and possess it; the children of his servants shall inherit it, and those who love his name shall dwell in it. (Ps. 69:30-36)
Likewise, Psalm 116 follows the pattern of todah, and actually makes specific reference to the thank offering. The Psalmist begins by saying, "the snares of death encompassed me; the pangs of Sheol laid hold on me; I suffered distress and anguish" (vs. 3), moving on to recount his petition, "then I called on the name of the LORD" (vs. 4), and then recounting his deliverance: "Gracious is the LORD, and righteous; our God is merciful. The LORD preserves the simple; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return, O my soul, to your rest; for the LORD has dealt bountifully with you. For thou hast delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling." (vss. 5-8)
In answer to the question, "What shall I render to the LORD for all his bounty to me?" (vs. 12), the Psalmist mentions the todah as the way in which he will glorify God's saving work: "I will lift up the cup of salvation [LXX: poterion soteriou] and call on the name of the LORD, I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people ... I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving [LXX: thusian aineseos] and call on the name of the LORD. I will pay my vows to the LORD in the presence of all his people." (vss. 13-18)
Take note of the poetic parallelism between vss. 13-14 and vss. 17-18, where the todah sacrifice is interchanged with the "cup of salvation":
1) I will lift up the cup of salvation
2) and call on the name of the LORD
3) I will pay my vows to the LORD
4) in the presence of all his people
1) I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving
2) and call on the name of the LORD
3) I will pay my vows to the LORD
4) in the presence of all his people
Fr. James Swetnam notes this parallel and says that this indicates that a cup of wine was also included in a todah sacrifice:
The toda ceremony was a type of thanksgiving offering associated with a bloody sacrifice. Both bloody sacrifice and toda ceremony are offered by someone who has escaped from the danger of death, serious illness, or life-threatening persecution. An essential element is a hymn of thanksgiving which serves to recall the salvation achieved. The toda ceremony involves such a hymn of thanksgiving plus the offering of leavened bread, and it can involve a cup of wine which serves as the ceremonial proclamation parallel to the bread which is the ceremonial meal. The Psalter indicates that the toda had an importance difficult to exaggerate in the religious life of Israel ... In the toda meal the bread offering had a special place (Lev 7,12-15). The use of wine had a prominent part (in Ps 116 vv. 17-18 [LXX 115,8-9] with mention of the toda ... are parallel to vv. 13-14 [LXX 115,4-6] with mention of the 'cup of salvation' ...). (Swetnam, J., "The Crux at Hebrews 5,7-8", Biblica, Vol. 81 [2000], p. 358, 359, emphasis added)
In the prophetic age, we find mention of a future "eschatological todah sacrifice." Isaiah says that in the last days, "the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before his elders he will manifest his glory." (Is. 24:23) The mention of God revealing His glory "before his elders" on a mountain (Zion, in this case) recalls the words of Exodus 24:
Then Moses and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel went up, and they saw the God of Israel ... they beheld God, and ate and drank. (Ex. 24:9-11)
Corresponding to the eating and drinking of the elders on Mount Sinai, Isaiah says that at this future gathering on Mount Zion, "the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined." (Is. 25:6) This section of Isaiah's prophecy, appropriately enough, begins with a kind of todah-style song of thanksgiving:
O LORD, thou art my God; I will exalt thee, I will praise thy name; for thou hast done wonderful things, plans formed of old, faithful and sure. For thou hast made the city a heap, the fortified city a ruin; the palace of aliens is a city no more, it will never be rebuilt. Therefore strong peoples will glorify thee; cities of ruthless nations will fear thee. For thou hast been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the blast of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall, like heat in a dry place. Thou dost subdue the noise of the aliens; as heat by the shade of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is stilled. (Is. 25:1-5)
Further, in a very Messianic prophecy of Jeremiah, we find God speaking of future "glory days" for Jerusalem:
But if you listen to me, says the LORD ... then there shall enter by the gates of this city kings who sit on the throne of David, riding in chariots and on horses, they and their princes, the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem; and this city shall be inhabited for ever. And people shall come from the cities of Judah and the places round about Jerusalem, from the land of Benjamin, from the Shephelah, from the hill country, and from the Negeb, bringing burnt offerings and sacrifices, cereal offerings and frankincense, and bringing thank offerings [LXX: ferontes ainesin] to the house of the LORD. (Jer. 17:24-26)
In light of these kinds of Messianic/last-days prophecies, in which the todah seems to have some prominence, Gese says:
We can understand the verdict of the ancient rabbis, "In the coming (messianic) age all sacrifices will cease, but the thank offering will never cease; all (religious) songs will cease, but the songs of thanks will never cease." [Pesiqta ed. S. Buber, 1868, p. 79a; e. B. Mandelbaum, 1962, I, p. 159] (Gese, p. 133)
Fr. Swetnam, in his article in Biblica ("The Crux at Hebrews 5,7-8," cited above), shows how the todah sacrifice is taken up in the New Testament and brought to its fulfillment in the Sacrifice of the Cross.
It is very much significant that one of the seven last sayings of Our Lord from the Cross is a quotation from one of the most well-known todah Psalms:
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Eli, Eli, lama sabach-thani?" that is, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Matt. 27:46)
This is the opening line of Psalm 22, which is not only another perfect example of the todah structure, but is, along with Psalm 69 (already cited), one of the most explicit Messianic Psalms which predict the Passion of the Christ. Note the movement from lament to thanksgiving in these verses, as well as the references to the Passion:
My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? Why art thou so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry by day, but thou dost not answer; and by night, but find no rest ... All who see me mock at me, they make mouths at me, they wag their heads; "He committed his cause to the LORD; let him deliver him, let him rescue him, for he delights in him!" [c.f. Matt. 27:39-43] ... I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax, it is melted within my breast; my strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaves to my jaws; thou dost lay me in the dust of death. Yea, dogs are round about me; a company of evildoers encircle me; they have pierced my hands and feet-- I can count all my bones--they stare and gloat over me; they divide my garments among them, and for my raiment they cast lots ...
I will tell of thy name to my brethren; in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee: You who fear the LORD, praise him! all you sons of Jacob, glorify him, and stand in awe of him, all you sons of Israel! For he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; and he has not hid his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him ...
For dominion [meluwkah, LXX: basileia, "kingdom"] belongs to the LORD, and he rules over the nations. Yea, to him shall all the proud of the earth bow down; before him shall bow all who go down to the dust, and he who cannot keep himself alive. Posterity shall serve him; men shall tell of the Lord to the coming generation, and proclaim his deliverance to a people yet unborn, that he has wrought it. (Ps. 22:1-2, 7-8, 14-18, 22-24, 28-31)
This particular todah is frequently linked by the New Testament writers to the Passion. We have already seen that the opening words are quoted by Our Lord on the Cross; St. John, in his narrative of the Passion, quotes verse 18 (c.f. John 19:24); St. Paul quotes verse 22 in a certain kingdom-context ("we see Jesus ... crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death") in Hebrews 2:9-12. To get a clearer view of todah in relation to the Sacrifice of the Cross, Fr. Swetnam's insights are particularly helpful:
Toda-piety's basic experience of death and redemption took on, in the perspective of apocalyptic, the dimensions of an absolute, and salvation from death led to the conversion of the world, to the participation of the dead in life, and to the eternal proclamation of salvation (Ps 22[21],8-32). (Note the occurrence of 'kingdom' - basileia - in v. 29.) The cry of Jesus at Mt 27,46 and Mk 15,34 in which He cites the opening verse of Ps 22[21] is designed to indicate not that God had abandoned the petitioner, but that salvation through death - Jesus' death - is the occasion for the arrival of the Kingdom of God as interpreted in Ps 22[21]. Abandonment by God is a common theme in the psalms, and it is difficult to see what the distinctive purpose of the citation of the opening verse could be if not an indication of this abandonment in the context of the entire psalm, i.e., an abandonment which leads to the advent of the Kingdom. (Swetnam, pp. 358-359)
There are those who would object to the idea that, when Our Lord quotes the opening line of Psalm 22, it is with the intention of communicating the entire message of the Psalm. That is to say, the words "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" should not be interpreted to mean that God the Father abandoned the Son during His hour of Passion, but rather, those words are meant to propel us forward to the words "he has not despised or abhorred the affliction of the afflicted; and he has not hid his face from him, but has heard, when he cried to him."
Objectors to this view must answer the counter objection suggested by Swetnam: there are many Psalms which speak of abandonment by God. Consider:
Hide not thy face from me. Turn not thy servant away in anger, thou who hast been my help. Cast me not off, forsake me not, O God of my salvation! (Ps. 27:9) Do not forsake me, O LORD! O my God, be not far from me! Make haste to help me, O Lord, my salvation! (Ps. 38:21-22)
I will praise thee with an upright heart, when I learn thy righteous ordinances. I will observe thy statutes; O forsake me not utterly! (Ps. 119:7-8)
Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy holy Spirit from me. (Ps. 51:11)
Our Lord could have quoted any one of these or several other verses, had His desire been to express the fact that He feared abandonment by God - why did He pass over these in favor of Ps. 22:1, a Psalm which just coincidentally is a todah Psalm of praise and deliverance? It is entirely too coincidental that this particular Psalm includes so many explicit prophecies of Our Lord's suffering on the Cross, and that these sufferings culminate (just as the Psalm does) in the coming "kingdom" of God.
Having established the link between todah and the Crucifixion, however, it becomes very difficult to miss the link between todah and the Last Supper - precisely because it is impossible to miss the connection (even if viewed as only casual) between the Cross and the Upper Room.
By way of a side-tangent, we must recall for ourselves just how saturated in sacrificial context is the Upper Room narrative. The historical/liturgical context of the Upper Room narrative is the Passover Feast, which itself was a sacrificial meal involving the slaughter of an animal and the eating of bread and wine; the phrase "do this for an anamnesis of me" recalls the particular category of Old Testament sacrifice known as the "memorial offering"; the words "this is the New Covenant in my blood" is an echo of Moses' words to a newly inaugurated ecclesia of Hebrews, when he sprinkled the blood of a slaughtered bull upon the people and said, "this is the blood of the covenant" (c.f. Ex. 24:1-8); finally, the description of the chalice as "blood which is poured out for you" evokes another category of sacrifice in Israel, namely, the libation offering which was intended to be "poured out" at the base of the altar.
To return to the discussion of the todah, we see the link between Calvary and the Upper Room in that fact that, in the Upper Room, Our Lord offered (using overtly sacrificial language that recalled both bloody and unbloody categories of Old Covenant sacrifice) precisely those two elements that are present at the todah sacrifice: the bread and the cup of wine.
The connection between the three (todah, Calvary, and the Upper Room) becomes even more focused and clear when we consider that the three elements of the todah are accounted for in the combination of both Calvary and the Upper Room.
To put it another way: if we view the Upper Room as the beginning of the Sacrifice of Christ, and Calvary as the completion of the Sacrifice, then what we have is one continuous sacrificial action that corresponds exactly to the several parts of the todah sacrifice. In the todah, there was the offering of bread and wine, but also the blood of a sacrificial animal; if we see the Upper Room and Calvary as bookends of the same singular sacrifice, then in the bread and wine of the Upper Room we can account for the bloodless sacrifice of the todah, while in the pierced body of Our Lord on the Cross we account for the bloody aspect of the todah sacrifice.
The similarities are too rich to be passed over. It was because of the bloody sacrifice of the animal on the altar that the offerer could then participate in the meal of bread and wine, which signified his harmonious relationship with God; however, the meal of bread and wine was not an afterthought, but was clearly understood in Levitical terms to be a part of the sacrifice proper.
This bloody-unbloody combination contained in one single sacrifice has but one counter-part in the New Covenant: "In this divine sacrifice which is celebrated in the Mass, the same Christ who offered himself once in a bloody manner on the altar of the cross is contained and is offered in an unbloody manner." (Council of Trent, DS #1743)
Recall also that the perpetual offering of the todah sacrifice - a bloody-unbloody sacrifice involving bread and wine - was understood by the rabbis to be a sign of the Messianic age (see quote above). What else can it mean when Our Lord, the Messiah, comes to earth to offer His body as a bloody sacrifice, but prefaces this by first offering bread and wine - which He calls His body and blood, thus clearly making it one sustained sacrificial act with that of Calvary - and tells His disciples to continue this act ad infinitum until the end of time - except that the Sacrifice of the Mass is one with the supernatural and elevated todah sacrifice of the New Covenant?
The early Church understood this, and perhaps this is why the term applied to the weekly liturgical sacrifice was nothing less than the Greek translation of the word todah. In Hebrew, todah means "thanksgiving"; in Greek, the word is eucharistia, or in English, "Eucharist."
The understanding of the Church as regards the todah sacrifice and its connection to the Mass could not be stated more clearly than what we find in the Roman Liturgy. Just prior to the drinking of the Precious Blood of Our Lord, the priest recites the prayer Quid retribuam Domino ... - the very verses discussed above, belonging to the todah Psalm 116:
What return shall I make to the Lord for all He has given to me? I will take the chalice of salvation, and call upon the Name of the Lord. Praising I will call upon the Lord, and I shall be saved from my enemies. (Communion of the Priest, Roman Missal)
This is clearly what the Church wants us to see in the offering of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: the todah of the Old Covenant, which was both a bloody and an unbloody sacrifice, which the rabbis said would be a perpetual sacrifice (to the exlusion of all other sacrifices) in the Messianic age, is to be found in no other place than on the high altar at every single Eucharistic Liturgy, where the bloody sacrifice of Calvary is perpetuated in an unbloody manner under the appearances of bread and wine.
This is, perhaps, what St. Paul was referring to in the epistle to the Hebrews, "let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise [thusian aineseos] to God, that is, the fruit [karpos] of lips that acknowledge his name." (Heb. 13:15) Can we overlook the fact that St. Paul uses exactly the terminology that is found in the Old Testament to describe the todah sacrifice? Or that the work karpos can mean "praises, which are presented to God as a thank offering?" (C.f. Strong's #2590)
This final and fulfilled todah sacrifice, offered by Our Lord both in the Upper Room and on the Cross, and perpetually offered by the Church in the re-presentation of Calvary via the Sacrifice of the Mass, is the sacrifice to which the Old Covenant todah sacrifice - and indeed all sacrifices of the Old Covenant - pointed, and in which it finds its telos.
Panem coelestem accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo ...
Jacob Michael