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Can a Christian who dies in a state of sin enter the kingdom of heaven? I don’t see how he can. So what is the use of praying for someone who has died when we don’t know whether he has died in a state of sin or repentance?
We don’t have to pray for someone who has died whilst sinning. Prayer will not benefit him, and our master St John said: “There is sin leading to death. I do not say that he should pray about that.” (1 John 5:16).
If a thief climbs up the walls of a house in order to burgle it, and falls down and dies in the process, the Church would not pray for him. And if drug smugglers get into a fight with the police and get killed during this fight, the Church does not pray for them either. And if a person who has an intelligent mind and commits suicide, the Church does not pray for him.
Therefore, if the Church can be sure that the person has died whilst in the act of committing a sin, it doesn’t pray for him. (more…)
Some people say that Judaism is a worldly, materialistic religion. What is your view on this assertion, and if it is true, has Christianity rectified the materialism of Judaism?
Since Judaism is a heavenly religion, we can’t describe it as being materialistic. And since the doctrines of Judaism were inspired by God in the Bible, that is in the Torah, we cannot describe God’s commandments as being materialistic, otherwise we would be making an accusation against God Himself, and not only against God but against the great prophet Moses, who was the first to give mankind a divine written law. Could we ever accuse Moses of leading the people towards materialism?
The exalted nature of the teachings of Judaism could provide scope for many books, and we might be able to produce something of this later on. We also ought not to forget that much of what is said in the Books of the Old Testament Cannot be correctly understood without a knowledge of its symbols.
Someof those who criticise Jewish teachings, have not yet understood them properly. (more…)
Since the Bible says we are “justified freely by His grace ” (Rom. 3:24), then salvation must be free. So why do we associate it with baptism which is an act that has to be performed?
The expression “justified freely” means that we do not have to pay a price for this justification. This is because “the wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23), as it says in the same epistle to the Romans, and the Lord Christ paid this price for us with His death, by shedding His blood on the cross.
We, therefore, obtain justification without having to pay the price ourselves, hence it is free.
Baptism, however, is not the price, but the means to this justification.
For example, our Protestant brothers and sisters say that we are saved through faith. But faith is the means, and not the price. The price is nothing other than the blood of Christ; as the Bible says: “without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. ” (Heb. 9:22) and the Lord Christ joined these two means; faith and baptism, together, when He said: “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; ” (Mark 16:16) (more…)
The word ‘seraphim’ is plural, the singular is ‘seraph’, and this word is used for a particular kind of angel, all of whom have six wings, with two of which they cover their faces, with another two their feet and with the remaining two they fly.
The particular passage in which the Bible refers to the seraphim is to be found in Isaiah, when the prophet saw these angels around the throne of God, praising Him and saying; “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His glory! ” (Is. 6:3).
The work of the seraphim is to praise, even so, when they heard Isaiah cry, “Woe to me!… I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips”, one of the seraphim flew down “with a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with tongs from the altar”. And he touched Isaiah on the mouth and said: ” Behold, this has touched your lips; Your iniquity is taken away, And your sin purged ” (Is. 6:7).
There is no mention anywhere in the Bible that any of the seraphim has ever fallen. (more…)
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Since Adam and Eve fell while they were in Paradise, is it possible that any of us would fall in the next world?
As far as the body is concerned, we will rise in a non-physical body, a spiritual, luminous, glorious body, a strong and indestructible one that resembles the glorious body in which Christ Himself rose (Phil. 3:21), according to St Paul, who also said: “Just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the Man from heaven. ” (1 Cor. 15:42-49).
This body will not sin, because sin is a kind of corruption: “It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption. ” (1 Cor.
15:42). There will be no sin in the next world, for we are told
about the heavenly Jerusalem that “Nothing impure will ever enter it. ” (Rev. 21:27). (more…)
There is a kind of spiritual perception by which the spirit can see beyond the limits of the body and its form, and by which it can also see God, as a spirit without form, in a vision that cannot be expressed as the Bible tells us: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “ (Matt. 5:8) and as Job said: “now my eyes have seen You.” (Job. 42:5).
St Anthony saw the soul of Anba Amun being conducted to heaven by angels, and told this to his disciples. But what did he actually see?!
The rich man saw Abraham and Lazarus, but what exactly did he see, and in what form did he see them? Was it in the same way as St Anthony saw the soul of Anba Amun, and in the same form? I wonder whether the spirit can take on the shape of a body, without it being material or substantial!
What is the meaning of the verse, “No-one has ever seen God”? (John 1:18) Has not God appeared to many of the prophets and spoken to them?
What is meant by ‘God’ in this phrase is the god head, His essential divinity, because this god head is invisible. And in regard to this divinity since God is Spirit, He cannot be seen by our earthly eyes which can only perceive material things.
This is why God always appeared in the form of a human being or in the shape of an angel when it was intended for human beings to see Him. And finally He appeared in the body when we saw Him in His Son Jesus Christ who said: “Anyone who has seen Me has seen the Father. ” (John 14:9)
Thus after John the Baptist said “No-one has ever seen God”, he went on to say: “The Only Begotten Son, who is in the Father’s bosom, has made Him known. ” (John 1:18), which means that He declared the Father.
All those who try to depict or have ever tried to portray the Father in a visible form, have got it wrong, and this very verse proves them wrong, for example those who portray the Father in icons of the baptism of Christ, when God said: “This is My Son, whom I love; with Him I am well pleased.”” (Matt. 3:17), when no-one actually saw the Father.
All the while that we are in this physical body, there is a mist like a veil preventing us from seeing God, we can only see “a poor reflection as in a mirror. “ as St Paul put it (1 Cor. 13:12). But when we put off this earthly body, we will be clothed in a shining, spiritual body that can see what no eye has ever seen. And it is then that we shall see God.
Yes, of course. There is no doubt that they can. And we have the clear example of this in the story of the rich man and the poor Lazarus, where the Bible says that after they had both died, the rich man:
“looked up and saw Abraham far away, with Lazarus by his side. So he called to him, ‘Father Abraham, have pity on me’.” (Luke 16:23).
We notice here that the rich man knew which was Lazarus and which was Abraham, and we also see that Abraham knew that one of them had received his blessings on earth, while the other had suffered troubles.
Therefore it is clear from this that a spirit’s capacity to recognise extends to those whom the person has seen before as well as to those whom he has not.
For the rich man not only recognised Lazarus whom he had seen with his own eyes in the world, while he was alive, but he also recognised Abraham whom he had never met or ever set eyes on. In the same way our forefather Abraham recognised both of them.
The knowledge of the spirits become very extensive after they have become separated from the body.
Thus we find our master St Paul saying: “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known”. (1Cor. 13:12).
The angels are also of two types: holy angels, and evil angels or demons. There is no doubt that both types, good and bad, are at work in the world. It was said of the angels: “Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation? ” (Heb. 1:14) and “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear Him, and delivers them. ” (Ps. 34:7)
The work of the demon spirits is to corrupt mankind spiritually, but only if people surrender their wills to them, or to throw some or take possession of them. This is why the Lord gave His disciples and saints the gifts of casting out demons. (Matt.10:1, 8; Mark 16:17)
As far as the spirits of mankind are concerned, the wicked end up imprisoned in hell, while some of the righteous become
entrusted by God to provide help for their brothers on earth, and these spirits may even appear to those people as Virgin
Mary and St. George do.