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Saints; can we pray to them? Can they hear us?

Discussion in 'Mariology & Hagiography' started by Cain Spencer, Mar 15, 2010.

  1. No. Don't even pray to them, it is wrong.

  2. Maybe, just maybe but I don't see it stated anywhere in the bible.

  3. I have done it in the past and I felt something but now I'm not so sure.

  4. Yes.

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  1. JediMobius

    JediMobius The Guy with the Face

    United States
    But why does this mean departed saints intercede at our earthly request, personally? Wouldn't the portion of the body departed from this earth, who have the mind of Christ, pray according to His divine will? (That's assuming any Christians other than martyrs go straight to heaven, of which in general I remain unconvinced.)

    Please, provide verses for quoted scripture. It's a pretty big book, the haystack gets even bigger with various versions to consider, and paraphrasing makes it nearly impossible to reference "known as they are known," a phrase which didn't come up in a search for NASB, NIV, NLT, KJV, or NKJV.
  2. packermann

    packermann Junior Member

    1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles.

    Hebrews 12:1

    The imagery, as it would be understood in the first century in the Roman Empire, is that we are running a race and those cited in the previous chapter, the Old Testament saints, are surrounding us in the clouds, cheering us on. This shows that those who have died and have gone to heaven are fully aware of what is happening to us – and would be aware of the times we ask them to pray for us.

    22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.

    Hebrews 12:22-24

    Mount Zion is obviously heaven. Notice that this is current experience, not in the future (“you have come”). This passage lists those who we now can come to.

    We come to:

    1. Angels – “You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly”

    2. Church of the firstborn – “to the church of the firstborn”

    3. God – “You have come to God, the Judge of all”

    4. Saints – “to the spirits of the righteous made perfect”

    5. Jesus - “to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant”

    Protestants see that we only have a relationship with Jesus and God the Father, which is #3 and #4. But this verse says we also have a relationship with angels (#1) and saints in heaven (#2 and #4). So if we currently have a relationship with angels and saints, then we can ask them to pray for us.

    3 Another angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. He was given much incense to offer, with the prayers of all God’s people, on the golden altar in front of the throne. 4 The smoke of the incense, together with the prayers of God’s people, went up before God from the angel’s hand. 5 Then the angel took the censer, filled it with fire from the altar, and hurled it on the earth; and there came peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightning and an earthquake.

    Revelation 8

    This passage says that an angel is personally handing over the prayers of God's people to God. This makes sense if the people are praying to the angel, and the angel in turn brings these requests to God.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2012
  3. JediMobius

    JediMobius The Guy with the Face

    United States
    Actually, the word "cloud" in Greek is used only once throughout scripture, in this verse, and the primary meaning is a great multitude or throng rather than a skyward entity. Further, the cloud is not the focus of the passage, but support for the important part of running the race. The "cloud of witnesses" exists as a cloud, or collection, in historical form much more tangibly, as examples, runners who completed the race. This fits the context more readily; to runners training for a race, the experience of runners before them is more useful than the place of runners in a hall of fame. Indeed, the latter would be a competitive challenge, which does not fit contextually at all. For both this reason and the point of equivocation, this passage is not reliable evidence of saints in heaven.

    Written in heaven:

    Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

    If we sum up the whole list of what the reader has come to, instead of destruction, it can be summed in the theme of Hebrew's: faith. Again, since the mention of the saints, who comprise the body of Christ, who is the head, is in passing and not the main point of the passage, it is unreliable evidence concerning heavenly saints. Also, Hebrews 12:18 says:

    For you have not come to what could be touched, to a blazing fire, to darkness, gloom, and storm,

    Therefor, preserving the overall context, beginning with verse 22 is what we have come to, not whom.

    Matthew Henry's commentary:

    (2.) To the general assembly and church of the first-born, that are written in heaven, that is, to the universal church, however dispersed. By faith we come to them, have communion with them in the same head, by the same Spirit, and in the same blessed hope, and walk in the same way of holiness, grappling with the same spiritual enemies, and hasting to the same rest, victory, and glorious triumph.

    The "firstborn" or "firstfruits" of the body of Christ should understandably be the very generation which comprised the book of Hebrew's audience. Of course, it was a much simpler affair to ask those in the same local assembly to pray for you, and to know that those still on earth were interceding on your behalf.

    I don't identify myself as protestant, or anything other than Christian, plain and simply part of the everlasting universal church (body) of Christ. For this matter, I do believe we have a relationship with every single member of the Kingdom of God. However, this relationship is incomplete, including some who have not been born, and many who have not yet been raised from the dead. (Or has Christ already come again, and the resurrection already transpired?)

    No, it says the angel is given these things, not the angel gives them. And if they were given, God must have possessed these things first. Should we really believe that all the prayers of the saints were prayed to this particular, unnamed angel rather than to God? It does say "with the prayers of all God's people," so it can't be that this is a verse about praying to angels.
  4. JediMobius

    JediMobius The Guy with the Face

    United States
  5. packermann

    packermann Junior Member

    In Greek, “cloud” means “cloud”. If it did not mean “cloud”, the translators of the New Testament would not have translated it as “cloud”. I am always skeptical of people who appeal to the Greek, as if no one could understand the Bible unless they know Greek. I myself studied Greek for three years, and after all my studying I realized that our translations are pretty good. Just because this is the one occurrence of the cloud in the New Testament this does not mean. The translators look at not the New Testament to determine the meaning of a word how the word was used in other literature, how it was used at a preceeding time, and how it was used afterwards. It looks at how the root of the word may be similar to other word. I checked 12 different translations of the Bible on this passage, they all translate the Greek word to be “cloud”.

    Hebrews 12:1 links chapter 11 to chapter 12. Chapter 11 talks of the Old Testament. Chapter 12 focus on us running the race. 12:1 link provides the segue. The Old Testament saints are now in the clouds (that is, heaven) cheering us one while we run the race.

    Just because the focus in chaper 12 is on the race, that does not negate the fact that the Old Testament saints are in the clouds witnessing the event.

    Amen! We are judged according to our works, not just by faith alone.

    Why should something that is written in passing be considered unreliable? Is there a verse in the Bible that says that we can ignore anything in scripture that is said in passing. Do you believe that ALL of scripture is inspired by God, or just the main points?

    It could be that a NT writer says something in passing because the doctrine is so common knowledge that the readers do not need to have it expounded. The NT writers would dwell more on what is controversial and not what is already generally accepted.

    I was not talking about the “firstborn” from the passage. I was talking about us having communion with the “spirits already made righteus”

    So you believe that we exist before we have been born? This sounds a little New Agey to me. You are an interesting person. You quote from Matthew Henry, who is a very orthodox Protestant. But you believe that we pre-existed, which is not taught anywhere in the
    Bible, and is not part of any Christian tradition – Catholic or Protestant.

    The word “all” is often used as a Hebrew idiom mean “many” and not all.
    For instance, the Bible says that since Christ died for us therefor all died. Paul said that all of Israel will be saved. It says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. But we know that ALL did not sin. Jesus did not sin. Newborn babies who die did not sin. Therefore, not all actually have sinned.
  6. Cain Spencer

    Cain Spencer God save us all.

    My thread is still going!?