Jesus, Mary and the Holy Ghost

Idolatry is the worship of an idol (a physical object such as a cult image) as a deity, or practices believed to verge on worship, such as giving undue honor and regard to created forms other than God (YHWH). Idolatry is anything we put before God. The Apostle Paul wrote: “For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them” (Ephesians 5:5-7 KJV).

An idol is a material object, representing a deity, to which religious worship is directed. It is also controversially and pejoratively used by some Protestants to describe the Orthodox Christian practice of worshiping through the use of icons, a charge which Orthodox Christians reject. In a similarly controversial sense, it is also used by some Protestants to pejoratively describe various Catholic worship practices such as scapulars and the veneration of statues and flat images of the Virgin Mary and saints, which Catholics do not consider to be idolatry.

Veneration is practiced by groups such as the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Eastern Catholic Church. In some Christian denominations, veneration is shown outwardly by respectfully bowing or making the sign of the cross before a saint’s icon, relics, or statue. Veneration amounts to the heresy of idolatry as there is no real distinction between veneration and worship. The practice of veneration distracts a believer’s soul from its true objective, the worship of Almighty God. The Roman Catholic church teaches there is a difference between idolatry and veneration.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says: “Idolatry etymologically denotes Divine worship given to an image, but its signification has been extended to all Divine worship given to anyone or anything but the true God. An essential difference exists between idolatry and the veneration of images practiced in the Catholic Church, viz., that while the idolater credits the image he reverences with Divinity or Divine powers, the Catholic knows “that in images there is no divinity or virtue on account of which they are to be worshiped, that no petitions can be addressed to them, and that no trust is to be placed in them.”” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Idolatry)

The Hebrew word for worship is shachah (שָׁחָה). Shachah means to bow down or prostrate oneself before superior in homage, before God in worship, before false gods, and before angels.

Bishop Robert H. Brom claims that idolatry is condemned by the Catholic Church,  that there is no prohibition against the making of statues or images of various creatures for religious purposes in Scripture, that a Catholic may kneel in front of a statue while praying, and that the religious use of states and images is acceptable because God commanded us to make them. This is open disregard of Scriptures as they are twisted to benefit their positions.

Matt Slick at the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry did a wonderful article that examines and cross references Roman Catholicism and the Scripture passages in the Holy Bible.

In the Book of Exodus, the Ten Commandments say: “I am the LORD thy God, which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments” (Exodus 20:2-6 KJV).

In the Book of Leviticus it says: “Ye shall make you no idols nor graven image, neither rear you up a standing image, neither shall ye set up any image of stone in your land, to bow down unto it: for I am the LORD your God” (Leviticus 26:1 KJV). Throughout many Christian churches, especially in Catholicism, there are various statues and images of Jesus Christ (Yeshua HaMashiach), Mary, and the saints. In those churches, people very often bow down to statues, sometimes in prayer.

In the Second Book of Chronicles there is an account of Manasseh, a king of Israel, and the error he committed which led the Children of Israel into sin. It says: “Manasseh was twelve years old when he began to reign, and he reigned fifty and five years in Jerusalem: But did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel. For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them. Also he built altars in the house of the LORD, whereof the LORD had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be for ever. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the LORD. And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the LORD, to provoke him to anger. And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever: Neither will I any more remove the foot of Israel from out of the land which I have appointed for your fathers; so that they will take heed to do all that I have commanded them, according to the whole law and the statutes and the ordinances by the hand of Moses. So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the LORD had destroyed before the children of Israel. And the LORD spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken” (2 Chronicles 33:1-10 KJV).

The Prophet Ezekiel wrote: “Son of man, these men have set up their idols in their heart, and put the stumblingblock of their iniquity before their face: should I be enquired of at all by them?” (Ezekiel 14:3 KJV). The Catholic Encyclopedia says: “Veneration of Mary is accomplished in the heart. “The Blessed Virgin, as manifesting in a sublimer manner than any other creature the goodness of God,deserves from us a higher recognition and deeper veneration than any other of the saints; and this peculiar cultus due to herbecause of her unique position in the Divine economy, is designated in theology hyperdulia, that is dulia in an eminent degree” (Catholic Encyclopedia, Adoration).

Catholics view Mary and the saints as “intercessors” before God. They believe that a saint, who is glorified in Heaven, has more “direct access” to God than we do. Therefore, if a saint delivers a prayer to God, it is more effective than us praying to God directly. This concept is blatantly unbiblical. The Bible says, “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6 ESV). Also in his Epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paulwrote, “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16 KJV). We don’t need an intercessor to approach God for us if we approach Him through Jesus Christ.

In his Epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity” (Ephesians 4:17-19 ESV). “Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you” (Ephesians 4:28-32 ESV). “But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints. Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God” (Ephesians 5:3-5 ESV).

Clearly, the Bible prohibits making images of Almighty God, among other things. These objects are may not be intended for idolatry with everyone who makes or owns one. The concern is that we are making something that may lead someone astray and or make them stumble. The Apostle Paul said, “Wherefore, my dearly beloved, flee from idolatry” (1 Corinthians 10:14 KJV). Likewise, Saint John wrote, “Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (1 John 5:21 ESV). Religious art is nothing more to me than more than a drawing of a man, woman or bird. I would prefer to be accused of anconism than idolatry.

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Disturbing the Priest

Confession is the acknowledgment of sin (or one’s sinfulness) or wrongs. It is a religious practice in a number of faith traditions. In the Corpus Christendom, confession is a sacrament practiced by the Catholic ChurchEastern Orthodox ChurchEastern Catholic Church, Anglican Church, Lutheran Church, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.

Among most of these churches, the Sacrament of Penance is the method of the Church by which individual men and women may confess sins committed after baptism and have them absolved by a priest. This sacrament is known by many names, including penance, reconciliation and confession.

The Sacrament of Penance requires three acts on the part of the penitent; contrition (sorrow of the soul for the sins committed), disclosure of the sins (the confession), and satisfaction (the penance).

Religious denominations within the Corpus Christendom who practice the Sacrament of Penance instruct their followers to confess their sins to a man, but the Holy Bible reveals that those who have received salvation can appeal directly to God (YHWH) through Yeshua HaMashiach (Jesus Christ) to receive forgiveness for their sins.

David confessed his sins to God when he prayed and wrote, “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin” (Psalms 32:5 KJV) and “Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me” (Psalms 51:2-3 KJV).

The Apostle John wrote, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 KJV).

Those who practice the Sacrament of Penance receive absolution (forgiveness) from a priest who claims to be the Vicar of Christ or acting”In Persona Christi,” a Latin phrase meaning “in the person of Christ.” Essentially, such a priest is claiming to be Yeshua HaMashiach’s personal representative on Earth and are claiming to be the mediator between God and man.

The Apostle Paul wrote, “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time” (1 Timothy 2:5-6 KJV).

According to Roman Catholics, “The Fathers of the Church present this sacrament as the second plank [of salvation].” (Pg. 363, #1446) and “After having attained the age of discretion, each of the faithful is bound by an obligation faithfully to confess serious sins at least once a year” (Pg. 365, #1457). This doctrine essentially teaches that if a believer leaves the Catholic Church, they will not be able to obtain forgiveness for their sins, which means that their salvation is invalid.

The Sacrament of Penance is salvation based on works. In his epistle to the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul wrote, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9 KJV).

These doctrines are in direct conflict with the teachings of the Holy Bible. In his epistle to the Galatians, The Apostle Paul wrote, “Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage” (Galatians 5:1 KJV).

To some extent, most churches that practice the Sacrament of Penance also practice the Sacrament of Absolution of the Dead. Yeshua taught us that, “Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him” (Luke 20:37-38 KJV). Praying for the dead is not a biblical concept. Our prayers have no bearing on someone once they have died. At that point their eternal future is confirmed. Either they are saved through faith in Yeshua and are in God’s presence where they are experiencing rest and the joy of being in His presence, or they eternally separated from God, in hell and awaiting judgement.

Prayers on behalf of the dead have no meaning, for nothing can be changed by them. The Word of God shows us that the dead no longer have any physical or mental activity.  Solomon wrote, “For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten” (Ecclesiastes 9:5 KJV).

The Prophet Isaiah wrote, “Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men” (Isaiah 29:13 KJV).

All those who follow Yeshua as Messiah and Savior need to read the Holy Bible. The doctrines and commandments of men are worthless. Every question to every detail of your life has an answer within Scripture. Be encouraged to listen to many teachers and ministers, but read the Scriptures for yourself and by yourself. Never trust, always verify.

Yeshua said, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works. Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom” (Matthew 16:24-28 KJV).

The Apostle Paul wrote, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed” (Romans 10:9-11 KJV). There are no further works or actions required to obtain salvation. It really is that simple.

Can a person receive forgiveness directly from God through faith, or must he avail himself of a priest’s mediation? The Holy Bible is very clear, no priest is needed to mediate between God and man. The Sacrament of Penance and doctrine of absolution are not biblical.

Do I mind disturbing the priest? Not at all, not in the least.