First some definitions:
The Hebrew word for worship/prostrate/homage is shachah, which in the Bible done to both God and man lawfully (as the many verses below demonstrate). Here is strong’s lexicon’s definition of the word shachah:
“A primitive root; to depress, that is, prostrate (especially reflexively in homage to royalty or God): - bow (self) down, crouch, fall down (flat), humbly beseech, do (make) obeisance, do reverence, make to stoop, worship.”
Another explanation of the word is give by Jeff Benner of ancient-hebrew.org he says:
“In our modern western culture worship is an action directed toward God and God alone. But this is not the case in the Hebrew Bible. The word shehhah is a common Hebrew word meaning to prostrate oneself before another in respect. We see Moses doing this to his father in law in Exodus 18:7. When the translators translate the word shehhah they will use the word "worship" when the bowing down is directed toward God but as "obeisance" or other equivalent word when directed toward another man. There is no Hebrew word meaning worship in the sense that we are used to using it in our culture today. From an Hebraic perspective worship, or shehhah is the act of getting down on ones knees and placing the face down on the ground before another worthy of respect.”
The Hebrew word for ‘pray’ is palal and like the word ‘worship’ (Shehhah/shachah), it is given to both man and God. Benner likewise explains it as:
In our modern religious culture prayer is a communication between man and God. While this definition could be applied to some passage of the Bible (such as Genesis 20:17) it is not an Hebraic definition of the Hebrew word palal. By looking at the etymology of this word we can better see the Hebraic meaning. The word palal comes from the parent root pal meaning "fall" (The root pal is most likely the root of our word fall which can etymologically be written as phal). Pal is also the root of the Hebrew word naphal also meaning "fall". The word palal literally means to "fall down to the ground in the presence of one in authority pleading a cause". This can be seen in Isaiah 45:14 where the Sabeans fall down and make supplication (this is the Hebrew word palal) to Cyrus.
And Strong’s on “palal” says:
“A primitive root; to judge (officially or mentally); by extension to intercede, pray: - intreat, judge (-ment), (make) pray (-er, -ing), make supplication.”-Heb6419
So in Hebrew the word translated “pray” and “worship” has very loose meaning like Catholics use today. Where ‘pray’ can mean plead as it does in Olde English and in Court, and ‘worship’ can mean to honor as it does in Olde English, in fact Protestant ministers were called “the Worshipful <insert name here>” (Read Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, where Puritan ministers took the title) For ease Catholicism breaks down worship into 2 main categories, “latria” which in Greek is reserved solely for God, and “dulia” which is given to God and man in veneration.
The veneration/honor of saints by bowing is permitted while adoration is strictly for God, blessed is He:
Exodus 20:5-6—“You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath the earth; you shall not bow* down before them or worship them.” *Here the word bow, תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה (tishtachaveh) in Hebrew, means worship, either adoration to God, or honor given to a superior/ royalty as is done elsewhere. Notice this commandment is not forbidding giving honor to other men, it is condemning idolatry and the worship of false god which Catholics are forbidden to do. Saints are not the false gods pagans—they are the holy ones of God who are to be honored. Note in the following verses variations of the same word is used, so clearly in context this “bowing” is not restricted to God.
Philo, a Greek speaking Jew that was a contemporary of the New Testament writes:
“And the second commandment is the summary of all those laws which can possibly be enacted, about all the things made by hands, such as images and statues, and, in short, erections of any kind, of which the painters' and statuaries' arts are pernicious [ie wicked] creators, for that commandment forbids such images to be made, and prohibits the cleaving to any of the fabulous inventions about the marriage of gods and the birth of gods, and the number of indescribable and painful calamities which are represented to have ensued from both such circumstances.”—Philo, The Decalogue, Line 156, paragraph XXIX
Josephus another contemporary and a historian commenting on the 2nd commandment also writes:
“The second commands us not to make the image of any living creature to worship it.”—Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 3, Chapter 5, Paragraph 5
These two sources show the commandment was not a prohibition of mere images, but a prohibition of making images of false gods, and honoring these false gods by statues.
Prior to the Scriptural references, I would like to show an apparent humorous contradiction. A Protestant prayer I recently overheard being prayed by a pastor with a "doctorate" in theology from a school founded by Jimmy Swaggart, he addressed God in prayer asking, then in the midst of that prayer he addressed SATAN, telling Satan to stay away! Then continued to address God. Now, why can Satan hear us but not the saints? If Protestants want to accuse us of believing the saints are omnipresent/scient because of their ability to hear us, then do they believe that Satan is omniscient or omnipresence since he is able to be rebuked.
Now back to the Scriptures on veneration:
1 Chronicles 29:20—Then David besought the whole assembly, "Now bless the LORD your God!" And the whole assembly blessed the LORD, the God of their fathers, bowing down and prostrating* themselves before the LORD and before the king. *Again the Hebrew uses the word וַיִּשְׁתַּחֲווּ as an act to both King and God, King David, peace be upon him, was given veneration, while God, Holy is He, was given adoration, yet only one word is used for both.
Genesis 23:7—“Abraham, however, began to bow* low before the local citizens, the Hittites” *Here Father Abraham, peace be upon him, gives honor or worshipוַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ (shachah) in Hebrew, to the people of the land.
Isaiah 49:23—“Kings shall be your foster fathers, their princesses your nurses; Bowing to the ground, they shall worship* you and lick the dust at your feet. Then you shall know that I am the LORD, and those who hope in me shall never be disappointed.” *Here the Hebrew reads יִשְׁתַּחֲווּ once again we see the word can mean honoring people or veneration.
2 Samuel 16:4—"The king therefore said to Ziba, "So! Everything Meribbaal had is yours." Then Ziba said: "I pay you homage*, my lord the king. May I find favor with you!" *Here were see homage again given to a king...this again is the Hebrew word הִֽשְׁתַּחֲוֵ֔יתִי (shachah) which means to worship, but the King James version has changed it to mean "humbly beseech," although 99% of the time the KJV translates it was some form of bow, prostrate, or worship. In the Greek LXX it here reads προσκυνήσας and in Latin New Vulgate/Clementine Vulhate reads adoro.
Genesis 27:29—“Nations shall serve you and kingdoms shall bow* down to you; you shall be a master over your brothers, and your mother's sons shall bow downto you. Those who curse you shall be cursed, and those who bless you shall be blessed."”*Here is the Hebrew word וְיִשְׁתַּחֲווּ in Hebrew, which can mean worship.
Genesis 33:3-4—“And he went ahead of them and prostrated* himself to the ground seven times, until he came close to his brother. And Esau ran toward him and embraced him, and he fell on his neck and kissed him, and they wept.”*Prostrated to 7 times!! Protestants would see this and call it 7 sevens idolatry!
Exodus 18:7—So Moses went out toward Jethro, prostrated himself and kissed him, and they greeted one another, and they entered the tent.*Here it is commonly interpreted as Moses bowing to his father-in-law, or possibly vice versa. Once again this word is a form of וַיִּשְׁתַּחוּ (shâchâh) in Hebrew, προσεκύνησεν in the Greek LXX, adoravit in the Latin Vulgate.
1 Kings 1:23—“When he had been announced, the prophet [Nathan] entered the king's [David] presence and, bowing* to the floor, did him homage.”*Here the word bow וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ (shachah), is the same word translated for ‘worship’, even in the 10 commandments in Hebrew another form is used תִשְׁתַּחֲוֶה. Protestants cannot really explain this, some try to say it was because David was a “figure” I respond that regardless—he WAS BOWED TO.
2 Kings 2:15—“And the disciples of the prophets who were in Jericho saw him from a distance, and they said, "Elijah's spirit has rested on Elisha." And they came toward him and prostrated themselves before him to the ground.” *Here people are venerating the Prophet Elisha, peace be upon him.
2 Kings 13:21—“And it came to pass that they were burying a man, and behold, they saw the band, and they threw the man into Elisha's grave, and he went andtouched Elisha's bones, and he came to life and stood up on his feet.” *Catholics venerate saints and certain objects touched by them, here is an example of the bones of the excellent Prophet Elijah, peace be upon him, giving what seems to be a blessing, giving life, a resurrection, for what was considered ordinarily an unclean act by the Torah (Numbers 19:11).
1 Samuel 25:40-1—When David's servants came to Abigail in Carmel, they said to her, "David has sent us to you that he may take you as his wife." Rising andbowing* to the ground, she answered, "Your handmaid would become a slave to wash the feet of my lord's servants." *Here the Hebrew has once again וַתִּשְׁתַּחוּ(shachah)
Joshua 5:13-5—“Joshua went up to him and asked, "Are you one of us or of our enemies?" He replied, "Neither. I am the captain of the host of the LORD and I have just arrived." Then Joshua fell prostrate to the ground in worship*, and said to him, "What has my lord to say to his servant?" The captain of the host of the LORD replied to Joshua, "Remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy." And Joshua obeyed.”*Worship, that is understood as veneration/honoring, or dulia (doulia), an inferior “worship” for beings that are not God, while God alone is adored. Here we see Holy Joshua, peace be upon him, venerating (who many identify as) the Holy Archangel Michael. Most Protestant “bible’s” here read “worship” including the King James Bible. The word here once again is for worship, or bowing down is the Hebrew word וַיִּשְׁתָּחוּ
Joshua 7:6—“And Joshua rent his clothing and fell to the earth upon his face before the Ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel, and they put dust upon their heads.”
Revelation 3:9—“Behold, I will make those of the assembly of Satan who claim to be Jews and are not, but are lying, behold I will make them come and fall prostrate at your feet, and they will realize that I love you.”
Acts 5:15—“Thus they even carried the sick out into the streets and laid them on cots and mats so that when Peter came by, at least his shadow might fall on one or another of them.”*The people looked for the shadow to be healed
Acts 19:12—“that when face cloths or aprons that touched his skin were applied to the sick, their diseases left them and the evil spirits came out of them.”*Clearly showed the power of relics, touching clothing healed people..Do you see this kind of thing in Modern Protestantism?
2 Kings 2:8-14—“And Elijah ascended to heaven in a whirlwind. … And he saw him no longer. Now he took hold of his garments and rent them in two pieces. And he picked up Elijah's mantle that had fallen off him, and he returned and stood on the bank of the Jordan. And he took Elijah's mantle that had fallen off him, and he struck the water and said, "Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?" He too struck the water and it divided on this side and on that side, and Elisha crossed.”
Genesis 37:7—“There we were, binding sheaves in the field, when suddenly my sheaf rose to an upright position, and your sheaves formed a ring around my sheaf and bowed down to it."
Genesis 37:9—“Then he had another dream, and this one, too, he told to his brothers. "I had another dream," he said; "this time, the sun and the moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me."
Genesis 37:10—When he also told it to his father, his father reproved him. "What is the meaning of this dream of yours?" he asked. "Can it be that I and your mother and your brothers are to come and bow to the ground before you?"
Genesis 42:6—“It was Joseph, as governor of the country, who dispensed the rations to all the people. When Joseph's brothers came and knelt down before him with their faces to the ground.”
Genesis 43:26—“When Joseph came home, they presented him with the gifts they had brought inside, while they bowed down before him to the ground.”
Genesis 43:28—“"Your servant our father is thriving and still in good health," they said, as they bowed respectfully.”
Exodus 13:19—“Moses took Joseph's bones with him, for he [Joseph] had adjured the sons of Israel, saying, God will surely remember you, and you shall bring up my bones from here with you”*They brought the bones of St Joseph, peace be upon him, with them.
Joshua 24:32—“And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel had brought up out of Egypt, they buried in Shechem, in the parcel of ground which Jacob bought from the sons of Hamor the father of Shechem, for a hundred pieces of money; and they became the inheritance of the children of Joseph.”
In the New Testament Jesus makes a reference that the Jews still honored the dead:
Matthew 23:29-30—“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the memorials of the righteous, and you say, 'If we had lived in the days of our ancestors, we would not have joined them in shedding the prophets' blood.' *Notice even in this time dead saints were honored. The purpose of this passage is showing that the Pharisees wanted to keep an appearance of holiness, by adorning the tombs of saints they made it seem like they were good people and would never have sought the execution of them.
Mark 15:34-36—“And at three o'clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, "Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?" which is translated, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?"Some of the bystanders who heard it said, "Look, he is calling Elijah." One of them ran, soaked a sponge with wine, put it on a reed, and gave it to him to drink, saying, "Wait, let us see if Elijah comes to take him down."” *Elijah is a Prophet of the Old Testament, peace be upon him, that was taken up in Chariots of Fire, he did not die. In this verse the Jews believe Christ, blessed is He, is calling on Elijah. Elijah is believed by Jews to be present at many Jewish ceremonies, among them the Seder, it is common set aside a place for Elijah, like an empty seat, or the "throne of Elijah". This is a sort of Pre New Testament intercession of the saints. Elijah is called an angel, similar to the Lord Christ, blessed is He, saying the saints (both on earth and heaven) are equal to angels. Angel means messenger.
Isaiah 45:14—“Thus says the LORD: The earnings of Egypt, the gain of Ethiopia, and the Sabeans, tall of stature, Shall come over to you and belong to you; they shall follow you, coming in chains. Before you they shall fall prostrate, saying in prayer: "With you only is God, and nowhere else; the gods are nought.” *Here both the Hebrew word for prayer (palal) and worship (shehhah) God says will be given to a MAN whom God appointed (King Cyrus)! Even the King James bible retains this language. This is from the Hebrew Masoretic Text. Whereas the Latin Vulgate and Greek Septuagint have this refer to simply the Christ (Messiah). However the King James bible applies this clearly to the anointed one (‘messiah’) King Cyrus.
Christ says the righteous dead are equal to angels and are LIVING.
Luke 20:37-38—Neither can they die any more: for they are equal to the angels, and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.....and He is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all are alive."
Again in "At the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage but are like the angels in heaven."—Matthew 22:30
"When they rise from the dead, they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but they are like the angels in heaven."—Mark 12:25
"Now call; will anyone answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn?"—Job 5:1
“To which of the holy ones [i.e., of the angels]” who decrees this upon you will you turn, to strive with him?--Jewish commentary
St Thomas Aquinas also quotes this verse for call on saints.--newadvent
Proverbs 15:29—The Lord is far from the wicked: and He will hear the prayers of the just.
Psalm 33:16-17 (LXX)—The eyes of the Lord are upon the just: and his ears unto their prayers. But the countenance of the Lord is against them that do evil things: to cut off the remembrance of them from the earth.
Genesis 20:7—“Therefore, return the man's wife--as a spokesman he will intercede for you--that your life may be saved. If you do not return her, you can be sure that you and all who are yours will certainly die."
1 Samuel 12:19—And all the people said to Samuel, "Pray for your servants to the LORD your God, that we may not die; for we have added to all our sins this evil, to ask for ourselves a king."
Jeremiah 42:1-2—…all the people, high and low, approached the prophet Jeremiah and said, "Grant our petition; pray for us to the LORD, your God, for all this remnant. We are now few who once were many, as you well see.
James 5:16—Confess therefore your sins one to another: and pray one for another, that you may be saved. For the continual prayer of a just man availeth much.
Luke 1:28—And the angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.
Revelation 8:3-4—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 theprayers 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.*This is linked to Malachi 1:11 which speaks of a sacrifice of incense
Malachi 1:11—For from the rising of the sun, even to its setting, my name is great among the nations; and in every place incense is offered to my name, and a pureoffering; For great is my name among the nations, says the LORD of hosts. * incense is the prayers of the saints and the oblation/pure offering is Christ's death/Eucharist.
Job 42:7-10—Now it came to pass after the Lord had spoken these words to Job, that the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite, "My wrath is kindled against you and your two companions because you did not speak correctly, as did My servant Job. And now, take to yourselves seven bulls and seven rams and go to My servant Job and offer up a burnt offering for yourselves, and Job My servant will pray for you, for I will favor him not to do anything unseemly to you, for you did not speak to Me correctly, as did My servant Job." Now Eliphaz the Temanite, Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite went and did as the Lord had spoken to them, and the Lord favored Job. Now the Lord returned Job's captivity when he prayed for his friends, and the Lord gave Job twice as much as he had had before.
Tobit 12:12—I can now tell you that when you, Tobit, and Sarah prayed, it was I who presented and read the record of your prayer before the Glory of the Lord; and I did the same thing when you used to bury the dead.
Zechariah 1:12-3—Then the angel of the Lord spoke out and said, "O LORD of hosts, how long will you be without mercy for Jerusalem and the cities of Judah that have felt your anger these seventy years?" To the angel who spoke with me, the LORD replied with comforting words.
Revelation 5:8—“And when he had opened the book, the four living creatures, and the four and twenty ancients fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints.”*See Rev 8:3-4
Hebrews 12:1--And therefore we also having so great a *cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: (Hebrews 11 speaks of the Old Testament heroes..Moses, Abraham, Rahab, peace be upon them...)*Implying they are now in heaven?
1 Corinthians 13:9-10; 12-- For we know partially and we prophesy partially, but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; *then I shall know fully, as I am fully known. *Knowledge not given to him now will be given in heaven.
Hebrews 12:23-- No, you have approached Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and countless angels in festal gathering, and the assembly of the firstborn enrolled in heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of the just (men) *made* perfect, and Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and the sprinkled blood that speaks more eloquently than that of Abel. *The writer is describing heaven as having angels and PEOPLE (the just) made perfect...some form of Purgatory?
Revelation 6:9-- When he broke open the fifth seal, I saw underneath the altar the souls of those who had been slaughtered because of the witness they bore to the word of God. They cried out in a loud voice, "How long will it be, holy and true master, before you sit in judgment and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth?" *The dead not yet fully resurrected being knowledgeable and asking God for vengeance.
Acts 12:14-5—"And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a maid named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter's voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and told that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, 'You are mad.' But she insisted that it was so. They said, 'It is his *angel!'" *Either they believed St Peter, peace be upon him, had been executed and became an angel, which is more likely, or it was his guardian angel. But since she insisted it WAS St Peter it was more likely they believed it was St Peter (dead).
Ezekiel 44:19—“When they are to go out to the people in the outer court, they shall take off the garments in which they ministered and leave them in the chambers of the sanctuary, putting on other garments; thus they will not transmit holiness to the people with their garments.” *Thus it is demonstrated that in the old testament there was a sort of precursor to the sacramentals by the statement “transmit holiness to the people with their garments.” It show objects can be holy.
Mark 5:28-9--She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured." Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction.*Here we see a sort of example of a holy relic or sacramental theology, the woman’s issue stopped upon touching the cloak of Jesus, which she knew would happen, the heretic John Calvin will have you believe that the woman here is superstitious, but the bible says this was not superstition but faith! As it is written in v. 34 “Daughter, your faith has saved you.”
Common verse used to attack Catholics:
1 Timothy 2:5--For there is one God, and one mediator of God and men, the man Christ Jesus:
1 Timothy 2:6--Who gave himself a redemption for all, a testimony in due times.
"His Mediation" is His priestly sacrifice, His office as Holy High Priest, The one mediator of the sacrifice by which we are redeemed...the New Testament commonly calls Christ the Mediator of the New covenant, blessed is He. Otherwise would contradict..
Job 33:23 speaks of angels as a לוּץ (mlitz, or lûts) translated as “mediator,” “intercessor,” “interpreter,” or “translator” depending on what version you read:
“If there is an angel over him, an intercessor, one out of a thousand, to declare for a man his uprightness”—Chabad.org
“If then there be for him an angel, one out of a thousand, a mediator, To show him what is right for him and bring the man back to justice,”—NAB
“Then, if there should be for one of them an angel, a mediator, one of a thousand, one who declares a person upright,”—NRSV
A lexicon describes it as “A primitive root; properly to make mouths at, that is, to scoff; hence (from the effort to pronounce a foreign language) to interpret, or (generally) intercede: - ambassador, have in derision, interpreter, make a mock, mocker, scorn (-er, -ful), teacher.”
The Septuagint on Job 33:23 explains the thousands are angels of death. Whether the angel in Job 33 is a mediator or an accuse it’s clear that angels know our thoughts in either case.
"First of all, then, I ask that supplications, prayers, petitions, and thanksgivings be offered for everyone for kings and for all in authority, that we may lead a quiet and tranquil life in all devotion and dignity. This is good and pleasing to God our savior who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth."--1 Timothy 2:1-4
"Bless the Lord, * O you his angels, you mighty ones who do his word, hearkening to the voice of his word! Bless the Lord, all his hosts, his ministers that do his will!"--Psalm 103:20-21 *Angels can hear us?
Another Common verse used against Catholics:
Ecclesiastes 9:5—For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, for their remembrance is forgotten. *Problem:Soul sleep people use this to try to say the saints are dead, they don’t go to heaven nor can they pray for us. This verse is commonly misinterpreted, so I looked this up to find a Jewish interpretation by Rashi:
|“For the living know that they will die” and perhaps their hearts will return on the day of death and they will repent of their ways, but after they die, they do not know anything, and they have no more reward for the actions that they do from their deaths and onwards, for whoever toils on the eve of the Sabbath will eat on the Sabbath.—chabad.org|
A heretic will also use another verse in Ecclesiastes to advocate soul sleep:
Ecclesiastes 9:10—“Whatever your hand attains to do [as long as you are] with your strength, do; for there is neither deed nor reckoning, neither knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, where you are going.”
Problem: Proponents of soul sleep advocate their position with this verse also, this verse is just saying you can’t change your fate, so do what you can on earth while you are still alive. Here again is Rashi’s commentary:
for there is neither deed, etc. in the grave” for your merit after you die, and if you did so, you have no reckoning in the grave to worry about. The verse is transposed, [to be explained]: for there is neither deed nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave for the wicked, nor reckoning for the righteous, when the wicked give their accounting. So is it expounded in the Midrash (unknown). And one who interprets it without transposing it, according to its apparent meaning, interprets חֶשְּׁבּוֹן as an expression of “thought,” what he can still do to free himself from judgment.—Chabad.org
The early Church Fathers like St Jerome had similar interpretations. Soul sleep in not Christian doctrine, few throughout the history of the Church believed in it, some Jews believed in it and even misquote Ecclesiastes and therefore heretical groups such as the Millerite offshoots (ie Jehovah Witnesses and 7th Day Adventists) among other Protestantish group use some of the erroneous thinking of some Jewish scholars, some Protestant groups seem to even completely adopt a pre Christian view of the afterlife with apokatasis etc, though this was eventually settled in Council in the Early Church.
To see more on Soul sleep and counterarguments go here: bringyou.to
Another common verse used to attack:
“It is I, John, who heard and saw these things, and when I heard and saw them I fell down to worship at the feet of the angel who showed them to me. But he said to me, "Don't! I am a fellow servant of yours and of your brothers the prophets and of those who keep the message of this book. Worship God."”—Revelation 22:9, (Revelation 19:10 says similar.)
There are two possible explanations, one is that this was worship given solely to God and the Prophet John committed idolatry and the Angel was correct in rebuking the Prophet, OR what is the more likely case is that it is veneration, but the Angel tells St John the divine, peace be upon him, to not give him the veneration on the basis that they are equals, this is based on the fact the angel declares himself a “fellow servant” and “brother” of prophets, these words suggest equality in honor/holiness. Furthermore, I personally am not anxious to attribute idolatry to a sacred writer, a Prophet and Apostle (who himself warns against it in his letters), especially one who lived, travelled and was taught by Jesus, and was scripturally the most consistently loyal apostle, being called “beloved” by Christ and was sole Apostle to not run from the Cross. Furthermore, does it sound more reasonable to say, “John committed the same mistake of idolatry twice (Rev 19:10, Rev 22:9) to the Angel in a short period of time,” or “John honored the angel twice, but was told not to do so because they are equals.” At least to me it seems more reasonable to say the latter.
One Protestant [specifically a Calvinist called Patrox..] objected saying
1) I doubt the Israelites could have told Moses they were only giving idols dulia not latria, and 2) but Hebrews say Christ was “made a little less than the angels,” (Heb 2:7)
I respond 1) you cannot given dulia or latria to idols, 2) in the incarnation Jesus became flesh, and flesh dies whereas Angels are by nature spirits, which do not die, and Christ’s holiness was always intact.
He, then said, Peter denied Christ, so why would John not be capable of committing idolatry?
My response is that the 3 times Peter denied Christ (Matthew 26:69-75), because Peter, as the other Apostles (EXCEPT JOHN) fled from the Cross and feared being caught and tried themselves because of fear of the Jews (John 20:19) and execution. Furthermore, Peter denied Christ prior to be breathed on to receive the Holy Spirit (John 20:22) and before being made a Shepherd (John 21) Peter’s sin here is done so out of fear for his life, and the other instance where Peter sinned he was under duress, as he was ‘afraid’ once again of the circumcised ie the Judaizers (Galatians 2:12). Even the first instance where Peter ‘doubted’ it was because he was “afraid” of big waves coming. When Peter sinned in the Scriptures it was out of fear, distress, duress. This is NOT the case with John in Revelation 19 and 22, there was nothing coercing him, or intimidating him to commit idolatry, for this I think it’s not comparable to use Peter. The only other possibility is that John mistakenly gave the angel adoration, but I think this is extremely unlikely by the fact John did this twice (suggesting the Apostle has an extremely bad short term memory that caused him to forget in a sort period of time). It is possible John did impiously give the angel adoration (idolatry), but I doubt this is the case. Some Church Fathers say John did give the angel latria sinfully (eg St Augustine c.AD 400). Whereas others say it was not sinful, it was merely Dulia (eg St Pope Gregory the Great c.AD 600). In any case, no one claims John sinned by honoring or venerating the angel. IF John sinned it was because he gave the angel latria (divine worship) whether ignorantly or deliberately, he did NOT SIN BY GIVING THE ANGEL HONOR. I will post St Augustine’s commentary (not because I think it’s correct on John and the Angel, though it is possible) because it shows a veneration of saints, and makes a distinction between Latria and Dulia, and St Augustine is the most admired Early Church Father by Calvinists (and Protestants in general), who are under the impression he was a Calvinist before Calvin. This quotation is particularly important since Protestants generally will not concede there is a distinction between veneration (dulia) and adoration (latria).
St Augustine takes the view that Prophet John was committing idolatry, here is his commentary in which he separates a Christian’s veneration of holy men from adoration restricted to God:
‘It is true that Christians pay religious honor to the memory of the martyrs, both to excite us to imitate them and to obtain a share in their merits, and the assistance of their prayers. But we build altars not to any martyr, but to the God of martyrs, although it is to the memory of the martyrs. No one officiating at the altar in the saints' burying-place ever says, We bring an offering to you, O Peter! or O Paul! or O Cyprian! The offering is made to God, who gave the crown of martyrdom, while it is in memory of those thus crowned. The emotion is increased by the associations of the place, and love is excited both towards those who are our examples, and towards Him by whose help we may follow such examples. We regard the martyrs with the same affectionate intimacy that we feel towards holy men of God in this life, when we know that their hearts are prepared to endure the same suffering for the truth of the gospel. There is more devotion in our feeling towards the martyrs, because we know that their conflict is over; and we can speak with greater confidence in praise of those already victors in heaven, than of those still combating here. What is properly divine worship, which the Greeks call latria, and for which there is no word in Latin, both in doctrine and in practice, we give only to God. To this worship belongs the offering of sacrifices; as we see in the word idolatry, which means the giving of this worship to idols. Accordingly we never offer, or require any one to offer, sacrifice to a martyr, or to a holy soul, or to any angel. Any one falling into this error is instructed by doctrine, either in the way of correction or of caution. For holy beings themselves, whether saints or angels, refuse to accept what they know to be due to God alone. We see this in Paul and Barnabas, when the men of Lycaonia wished to sacrifice to them as gods, on account of the miracles they performed. They rent their clothes, and restrained the people, crying out to them, and persuading them that they were not gods. We see it also in the angels, as we read in the Apocalypse that an angel would not allow himself to be worshipped, and said to his worshipper, "I am your fellow-servant, and of your brethen." [Revelation 19:10]’—St Augustine, Contra Faustum, Book XX:21, c.AD 400
Another common verse used to attack:
When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and, falling at his feet, paid him homage.—Acts 10:25
*Problem: Here the scripture are clear that Cornelius accidently committed idolatry as we see from the response of St Peter:
Peter, however, raised him up, saying, "Get up. I myself am also [kai/ kago] a human being."—Acts 10:26
To put it simply, Cornelius probably thought St Peter was God, but since he isn’t God, St Peter told him to stop. Had the head of the Apostles simply started, “I am human” it would be ambiguous and might condemn honoring him, but it does not state that at all, it states rather the following: kai egw autoV anqrwpoV eimi “kai ego auto anthropos eimi” as it following in the Alexandrian Text; or kagw autoV anqrwpoV eimi “kago ego auto anthropos eimi” as it reads in the Byzantine Majority and the Textus Receptus (which is so near and dear to KJV onlyists) all of the manuscripts are translated word for word as “ALSO I myself, [a] human, [I] am” or “I am ALSO a human.” The word kai in Greek can mean and or also, the word kago means and I or also I. (see Koine interlinear here) The Aramaic Peshitta Text manuscripts of this verse read similarly in Aramaic. (see here and here for interlinear)
Christ in the gospel while being put to death on the Cross said to the penitent thief: “Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.’ He replied to him, ‘Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.’”(Luke 23:42-3)
People have used this verse to show that immediately after death Heaven follows, though Heaven does follow after the death of a righteous man (assuming he does not need to go to purgatory temporarily for purification) immediately after death, at the time of the crucifixion Heaven was not opened to most Man, it was only after Christ preached for three calendar days in the ‘heart of the earth’ that is Sheol or the Bosom of Abraham, the part of Sheol designated for the righteous men since the time of Adam to await the Messiah, that Heaven was opened up. The word ‘paradise’ in rabbinical literature means the Bosom of Abraham or as some say the Garden of Eden.
“The Rabbis refer to the grave's "good department" as 'paradise', in other words, the Garden of Eden.”—Risto Santala, On the New Testament
“By Paradise the rabbis understand the "good department" of Sheol, as Jesus too with his familiar words to the thief. In these words too we can see strongly the eternal perspective.”—Risto Santala, On Paul
In Jewish Tradition we observe the word “with me in Paradise.” Samuel says to Saul:
“Saul asked: "Can I still save myself by flight?" "Yes," replied Samuel, "if thou fleest, thou art safe. But if thou acceptest God's judgment, by to-morrow thou wilt be united with me in Paradise."—Gingzberg’s Legends of the Jews
Protestants have used Christ’s words to the thief to justify immediately going to Heaven after death, they are wrong since this verses does not necessarily entail that. Also, groups such as the Seventh Day Adventists and breaks of them such as the Jehovah Witness’ due to their heresy of soul sleep have reconstructed the sentence as Christ saying “I say to you today, though shall be with me in paradise.” Notice the repositioning of the comma therefore making Christ’s words awkward if not meaningless, of course he was saying what he said that day!
Those in heaven are aware:
"Likewise I say unto you, there is joy in the * presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."— Luke 15:10
*Those in heaven have some knowledge of the actions of those on earth.
"Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners but *FELLOW CITIZENS WITH THE SAINTS and of the household of God."— Eph. 2:19 *Communion of the saints?
"And behold the angel of the Lord came upon him and a light shined in the prison; and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying: Arise up quickly. And his chains fell from his hands."— Acts 12:7
"Are they not all ministering spirits, set forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?"— Hebrews 1:14
What he saw was this: Onias, the former high priest, a good and virtuous man, modest in appearance, gentle in manners, distinguished in speech, and trained from childhood in every virtuous practice, was praying with outstretched arms for the whole Jewish community. Then in the same way another man appeared, distinguished by his white hair and dignity, and with an air about him of extraordinary, majestic authority. Onias then said of him, "This is God's prophet Jeremiah, who loves his brethren and fervently prays for his people and their holy city."—2 Maccabees 15:12-14
Now call; will anyone answer you? To which of the holy ones will you turn?--Job 5:1
Conclusion: Since God, Blessed is He, is all powerful what is preventing Him from having apparition of angels and saints as saints are equal to angels, so what is preventing the heavenly beings from knowing the thoughts of men and hearing their prayers? In the Old Testament though God Himself would come down and converse with men (Genesis 18, Baruch 3) He also utilized angels and saints (as with Onias and Jeremiah in 2 Mac 15) and they could communicate with men. Clearly, St Peter, peace be upon him, saw the Old Testament saints with Jesus, blessed is He, (Mark 9, Luke 9, Matt 17). And some Jews call Elijah 'omnipresent' and call on him for certain occasion. Furthermore St Paul, peace be upon him, says angels are present at Mass, so he instructs women to veils themselves, but yet, Protestants are reluctant to acknowledge that saints and hear the prayers of men and label it "necromancy," and call it the same practice the witch of Condor used to get Saul, although this practice was performed by a wicked person. Despite evidence showing Angels and saints can be present at more than one place at a time, know full as St Paul says, and deliver prayers to God as in Rev.
Early Church Fathers on Intercession of Saints and Veneration
"[T]hat it is neither possible for us ever to forsake Christ, who suffered for the salvation of such as shall be saved throughout the whole world (the blameless one for sinners), nor to worship any other. For Him indeed, as being the Son of God, we adore; but the martyrs, as disciples and followers of the Lord, we worthily love on account of their extraordinary affection towards their own King and Master, of whom may we also be made companions and fellow disciples! The centurion then, seeing the strife excited by the Jews, placed the body in the midst of the fire, and consumed it. Accordingly, we afterwards took up his bones, as being more precious than the most exquisite jewels, and more purified than gold, and deposited them in a fitting place, whither, being gathered together, as opportunity is allowed us, with joy and rejoicing, the Lord shall grant us to celebrate the anniversary of his martyrdom, both in memory of those who have already finished their course, and for the exercising and preparation of those yet to walk in their steps."--Martyrdom of Polycarp 17,18(A.D. 157),in ANF,I:43
"[Appealing to the three companions of Daniel] Think of me, I beseech you, so that I may achieve with you the same fate of martyrdom"--Hippolytus of Rome,On Daniel,11:30(A.D. 204),in OTT,319
"[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 Hermas 3:5:4 [A.D. 80]).
"Hail, Mary!" (Anonymous inscription at the Church of the Annunciation in Nazareth [A.D. 200]).
Clement of Alexandria
"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 [A.D. 208]).
"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 [A.D. 233]).
Cyprian of Carthage
"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 the 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 56:5 [A.D. 253]).
"Atticus, sleep in peace, secure in your safety, and pray anxiously for our sins" (funerary inscription near St. Sabina's in Rome [A.D. 300]).
"Pray for your parents, Matronata Matrona. She lived one year, fifty-two days" (ibid.).
"Hail to you for ever, Virgin Mother of God, our unceasing joy, for unto thee do I again return. Thou are the beginning of our feast; you are its middle and end; the pearl of great price that belongs unto 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, of 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 thee . . . 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 [A.D. 305]).
"Therefore, we pray thee, 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 thee, and who in hymns august 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 thee, sing our praises to Christ, who has the power of life and death, saying, Thou art the true Light, proceeding from the true Light; the true God, begotten of the true God" (ibid.).
"Mother of God, [listen to] my petitions; do not disregard us in adversity, but rescue us from danger" (Rylands Papyrus 3 [A.D. 350]).
Cyril of Jerusalem
"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 [A.D. 350]).
Hilary of Poitiers
"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 [A.D. 365])
Ephraim the Syrian
"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 [A.D. 370]).
Ephraim the Syrian
"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 that so we may love him" (Commentary on Mark [A.D. 370]).
The Liturgy of St. Basil
"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" (Liturgy of St. Basil [A.D. 373]).
"Aschandius, my father, dearly beloved of my heart, with my sweet mother and my brethren, remember your Pectorius in the peace of the Fish [Christ]" (Epitaph of Pectorius [A.D. 375]).
"May you [Cyprian] look down from above propitiously upon us, and guide our word and life; and shepherd this sacred flock . . . gladden the Holy Trinity, before which you stand" (Orations 17 [A.D. 380]).
"Yes, I am well assured that [my father's] intercession is of more avail now than was his instruction in former days, since he is closer to God, now that he has shaken off his bodily fetters, and freed his mind from the clay that obscured it, and holds conversation naked with the nakedness of the prime and purest mind . . . " (ibid., 18:4).
Gregory of Nyssa
"[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 [A.D. 380]).
"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 tent-maker [Paul] and the fisherman [Peter] as patrons, even though they be dead" (Homilies on 2 Corinthians 26 [A.D. 392]).
"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 [A.D. 396]).
Ambrose of Milan
"May Peter, who wept so efficaciously for himself, weep for us and turn towards us Christ's benign countenance" (The Six Days Work 5:25:90 [A.D. 393]).
"You say in your book that while we live we are able to pray for each other, but afterwards when we have died, the prayer of no person for another can be heard . . . But if the apostles and martyrs while still in the body can pray for others, at a time when they ought still be solicitous about themselves, how much more will they do so after their crowns, victories, and triumphs?" (Against Vigilantius 6 [A.D. 406]).
"A Christian people celebrates together in religious solemnity the memorials of the martyrs, both to encourage their being imitated and so that it can share in their merits and be aided by their prayers" (Against Faustus the Manichean [A.D. 400]).
"There is an ecclesiastical discipline, as the faithful know, when the names of the martyrs are read aloud in that place at the altar of God, where prayer is not offered for them. Prayer, however, is offered for the dead who are remembered. For it is wrong to pray for a martyr, to whose prayers we ought ourselves be commended" (Sermons 159:1 [A.D. 411]).
"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" (Homilies on John 84 [A.D. 416]).
"Neither are the souls of the pious dead separated from the Church which even now is the kingdom of Christ. Otherwise there would be no remembrance of them at the altar of God in the communication of the Body of Christ" (The City of God 20:9:2 [A.D. 419]).
"Gregory of Nazianz presided over those who maintain the consubstantiality of the Holy Trinity, and assembled them together in a little dwelling, which had been altered into the form of a house of prayer, by those who held the same opinions and had a like form of worship. It subsequently became one of the most conspicuous in the city, and is so now, not only for the beauty and number of its structures, but also for the advantages accruing to it from the visible manifestations of God. For the power of God was there manifested, and was helpful both in waking visions and in dreams, often for the relief of many diseases and for those afflicted by some sudden transmutation in their affairs. The power was accredited to Mary, the Mother of God, the holy virgin, for she does manifest herself in this way" (Church History 7:5 [A.D. 444]).
Pope Leo I
"Let us rejoice, then, dearly beloved, with spiritual joy, and make our boast over the happy end of this illustrious man in the Lord [the martyr Laurentius] . . . By his prayer and intercession we trust at all times to be assisted . .." (Sermons 85:4 [A.D. 450]).
Jewish Tradition on this:
At every circumcision Elijah, "the angel of the covenant," as he is called in Malachi (iii. 1), is supposed to be seated at the right hand of the sandek, upon a chair richly carved and ornamented with embroideries ("kisse shel Eliyahu"). Even in the salutation to the child to be circumcised () is read theinvitation to Elijah ..
Accordingly, the Shulhan 'Aruk, Milah, 265, 11 (comp. Kol Bo, 73), orders that a distinct seat upon the bench, or a separate chair, be reserved for Elijah. To this the circumciser (mohel) refers in the prayer preceding the circumcision, as well as in the piyyut for the Sabbath on which a circumcision occurs. When the chair of Elijah is made ready, the words "This is the chair of Elijah" () must be said in a loud voice. Before the circumcision takes place the child is placed upon the chair. The chair is left in position for three days, not, as said by some, to give Elijah, the wanderer, time for rest, but because the first three days after circumcision are a period of danger for the child.....
As the sunlight and the Angel of Death are *omnipresent, so can Elijah be.... --see more at Jewish Encyclopedia on Elijah
*Catholics would more accurately maybe say "multipresent," while only applying omni to God, blessed is He, alone.
Furthermore Jewish Encyclopedia state that people such as Elijah and Enoch, peace be upon them both, BECAME angels.
"Only an occasional person, and he an especially fortunate one, like Enoch or Elijah, could escape from Sheol, and these were taken to heaven to the abode of Yhwh, where they became angels (comp. Slavonic Enoch, xxii.)."--Jewish Encyclopedia on sheol
In Jewish tradition (and even Islam, some Shiites have this practice) there is debate as to whether it is acceptable to ask for the intercession of saints who left the flesh. Jewish tradition records the Jews prostrating before the graves of Prophets asking them to pray to God for them. One such is the prayer to the Prophet Samuel which reads: Fortunate are you the faithful and friendly, fortunate the modest and the pious... because of your merit God will receive [the prayer of His people Israel], because of your merit God will bring to end [of our exile]... our master Samuel the prophet... [be dear] my soul in your eyes and the souls of your servants believing in your prophecy, who come to prostrate themselves on your grave, to implore the great and awesome Lord your God on behalf of the surviving remnant…[S. Assaf, ‘Ancient Prayers on the Grave of the Prophet Samuel’, Jerusalem, 1 (1948), pp. 71-73 (Hebrew)] This prayer of course resembles in part the biblical petition to him in 1 Samuel 12:19
There is one text used against invoking saints in Jewish tradition, as later rabbis came to discourage the practice:
Not as one who would first send his servant to a friend to ask for aid in his hour of need should man apply to Michael, or Gabriel, to intercede for him; but he should turn immediately to God Himself; for 'whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered'"( Yer. Ber. ix. 13a, quoted by Jewish Encyclopedia)
This does not exclude that the angels deliver the prayers, and seems to be the case for emergency situations, in which of course, it would be wise to pray to God for help. Despite this quote, Angels are used as mediators of sort in Jewish liturgies.
Now here are more texts used in favor of the Jewish invocation of saints, notice this teaches even in times of Moses saints had been venerated and invoked:
“And they went up by the South and he came unto Hebron — it should have read 'and they came'! — Raba said: It teaches that Caleb held aloof from the plan of the spies and went and prostrated himself upon the graves of the patriarchs, saying to them, 'My fathers, pray on my behalf that I may be delivered from the plan of the spies'. (As for Joshua, Moses had already prayed on his behalf; as it is said: And Moses called Hoshea the son of Nun Joshua, [meaning], May Jah save thee [yoshi'aka] from the plan of the spies.) That is the intention of what is written: But My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him. “—Sotah 34b
In another part of the Talmud there are two explanations for people going to the cemetery:
“Why do they go to the cemetery? — With regard to this there is a difference of opinion between R. Levi b. Hama nad R. Hanina. One says: [To signify thereby], We are as the dead before Thee; and the other says: In order that the dead should intercede for mercy on our behalf.”— SEDER MO‘ED,Tracate Ta'anit 16a [Taanis]
In the same work there is a reference to a rabbi going to the grave of his father to ask for his intercession:
“R. Mani, was annoyed by the members of the household of the Patriarch, he went and prostrated himself on the grave of his father and exclaimed: “Father, father, these people persecute me.” Once as they were passing [the grave] the knees of their horses became stiff [and remained so] until they undertook not to persecute him any longer.”-- SEDER MO‘ED, Tracate Ta'anit 23b [Taanis]
Another example in Jewish tradition of similar practice where the grave of a just rabbi is prostrated to:
Rabbi Haviva said, “Rabbi Haviva son of Surmaki told me: “I saw one of the rabbis whom Elijah used to frequent. In the morning his eyes were lovely, but in the evening they looked as if they had been burnt by fire. I asked him, ‘What is it?’ He told me that he has asked Elijah, ‘Show me the [departed] rabbis as they ascend to the Heavenly Academy.’ He [Elijah] replied: ‘You can gaze at all of them except for the carriage of Rabbi Hiyya, at which you cannot gaze.’ ‘What is their sign? [How can I distinguish between them?[‘ ‘All are accompanied by angels as they ascend and descend, except for the Rabbi Hiyya’s carriage, which ascends and descends on its own.’ ‘Unable to restrain myself, I gazed at it. Two sparks of fire shot forth and struck that man [i.e. me], blinding him. The next day I went and prostrated myself upon his [Rabbi Hiyya’s] grave, crying, “Your mishnah is my mishnah,” and I was healed.”” (taken from Zohar, Hadqamat Sefer ha-Zohar p21)
Here is an example of people bowing on graves to ask their pardon for sinning against them:
‘R. Joshua immediately went and prostrated himself on the graves of Beth Shammai, saying: I have sinned against you, bones of Beth Shammai, and if this is so with your hidden issues - then a fortiori with your open issues’-BT Hag 22b
Similarly, Catholics have a practice of asking the pardon of slandering saints.
The Talmud (I do not recommend this work though) states:
"If there is someone ill in your house, go to the wise man of the city and ask that he should pray for him."—Talmud. Baba Batra 116a
There are a few similar saying in Jewish tradition about getting a person to pray for a sick man, though the sick man is advised to pray for himself, there is no prohibition of having another called to pray. Perhaps this and James 5:14 comes from a common origin in Jewish Tradition.
For more on the Jewish perspective on asking the righteous (Tzadik) to pray for Jews on earth, though they reject the use of the words “pray to” and use “ask” or “chat,” and avoid using intermediary, but nonetheless uphold the practice and point to its ancient origins., and how it does not conflict with the prohibition of “beseeching the dead” etc…see chabad.org
For more on the intercession of saints and its history and where I got some of my sources go here