A question about the possibility of divine justification, prior to Jesus’ perfect and atoning sacrifice, on the cross.


Question: In the Gospel of Saint Luke, Chapter 18, verse 9, we read the story of The Pharisee and the Tax Collector. In verse 14, it goes on to say that the Tax Collector went home justified, by God. I thought that prior to Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross, nobody was ever justified, by God. What am I missing?

Answer: Prior to Jesus’ atoning sacrifice for the sins of mankind, God provided many types of opportunities for man to give God thanks and praise and to offer up imperfect forms of animal (and other) sacrifices to God, for various good purposes and intentions.

While none of those “forms” of worship (or even our best attempts at perfectly keeping the Old Law) had the power to destroy Satan’s power over man, or reopen the Gates of Heaven, they did serve to (imperfectly) please/appease God and impute a certain level of righteousness/justification to those who faithfully and correctly practiced them.

The souls of those who God considered to be “justified” in that manner, were supernaturally “marked” for eventual salvation, in Jesus Christ and subsequently detained in a special “place” in the afterlife – known (alternatively) as Hell, or “The Bosom of Abraham” – while they awaited the perfect and atoning sacrifice of our Holy Redeemer, on the cross, at Calvary.

Catholic Tradition informs us that Jesus escorted all those faithful souls to Heaven, while his dead body lay in the tomb, for three days and nights, awaiting his glorious Resurrection.

Stinkin’ Thinkin’? Fr. Thomas Berg writes that we are not necessarily called to be successful . . .

skunk

Biblical truth or a convenient excuse for a poorly run Church?

photo:Wikipedia

Catholic Apologetics – The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass

apologetics9

Editor’s note: It doesn’t get any better than that … this side of Heaven!

The main reason for attending Mass

by Doug Lawrence

The Mass is the liturgical re-presentation of Jesus Christ’s one-time, once for many, propitiatory sacrifice for the sins of the world, at Calvary.

The Last Supper was the anticipation of that blessed event, the eternal fulfillment of the Jewish Passover, and the Christ-instituted model for our timeless Catholic liturgy.

What makes the Mass eternally unique and infinitely efficacious is the real presence on the altar, under the auspices of bread and wine, of Jesus Christ, the sinless God-man who was crucified, died, and was buried, who rose again from the dead, and who remains the only perfect and acceptable sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Since Jesus Christ personally embodies the one time, once for many, eternal sacrifice for the sins of the world, when Jesus becomes present on the altar at Mass, his eternal sacrifice for sin is also renewed and re-presented.

From a practical standpoint, this is necessary so that we might have a pure and perfect offering that will be acceptable to God the Father. Without Jesus’ real presence on the altar, such a thing would not be possible. 

Most people look forward to receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and typically consider that as their primary reason for attending Mass, but there’s much more to it … since it typically remains necessary for the People of God, with the assistance of the priest, to faithfully and regularly “line up” behind Jesus, offering him up to our Father in Heaven … so that “mountains” might move, all things might be reconciled and renewed, and divine grace might continue to flow, in supernatural abundance.

This happens shortly after the consecration and just before the “Great Amen”. Watch and listen carefully the next time you attend:

The priest takes the chalice, containing the blood of Christ,
and the paten, on which his body, in the form of the host, rests.
Raising both, he says:

Through him, and with him, and in him,
O God, almighty Father,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
all glory and honor is yours,
for ever and ever.

The people acclaim:
Amen.

Having just offered Jesus Christ, our sinless brother, savior, perfect victim, Heavenly High Priest, mediator, and God, to our Father in Heaven, we rightfully expect this ultimate, totally spotless and perfect sacrifice to be accepted, affording us (and the whole Church) divine favor of all kinds.

Only then do we continue … rightly claiming Jesus’ Father as our own … and receiving Jesus Christ … body, blood, soul and divinity … for our divine sustenance … as we go forth.

The Mass – illustrated

Propitiation and Atonement – illustrated

Good Friday

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (Short Instructional Video)


Watch the video

More about the Mass

Submitted by Ken K.

On the mount of sacrifice, God himself will provide.


Genesis 22:2-18 He said to him: Take thy only begotten son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go into the land of vision; and there thou shalt offer him for an holocaust upon one of the mountains which I will show thee. So Abraham rising up in the night, saddled his ass, and took with him two young men, and Isaac his son: and when he had cut wood for the holocaust, he went his way to the place which God had commanded him.

And on the third day, lifting up his eyes, he saw the place afar off. And he said to his young men: Stay you here with the ass; I and the boy will go with speed as far as yonder, and after we have worshiped, will return to you. And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as they two went on together, Isaac said to his father: My father. And he answered: What wilt thou, son? Behold, saith he, fire and wood: where is the victim for the holocaust?

And Abraham said: God will provide himself a victim for an holocaust, my son. So they went on together.

And they came to the place which God had shewn him, where he built an altar, and laid the wood in order upon it; and when he had bound Isaac his son, he laid him on the altar upon the pile of wood. And he put forth his hand, and took the sword, to sacrifice his son. And behold, an angel of the Lord from heaven called to him, saying: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am. And he said to him: Lay not thy hand upon the boy, neither do thou any thing to him: now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake.

Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw behind his back a ram, amongst the briers, sticking fast by the horns, which he took and offered for a holocaust instead of his son.

And he called the name of that place, The Lord seeth. Whereupon, even to this day, it is said: In the mountain the Lord will see. And the angel of the Lord called to Abraham a second time from heaven, saying: By my own self have I sworn, saith the Lord: because thou hast done this thing, and hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake: I will bless thee, and I will multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand that is by the sea shore; thy seed shall possess the gates of their enemies. And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because thou hast obeyed my voice.


Editor’s note: The Book of Genesis, written by Moses, about 1500 B.C. contains many, many prophetic words and types, but few passages are as theologically “rich” as Genesis 22, the events of which date back to around 2000 B.C.

Just a few of the key parallels between Abraham’s sacrifice and the crucifixion of Jesus Christ:

  • A three-day process.
  • A beast of burden prominently figures here … and in the Christmas narrative … and on Palm Sunday.
  • Abraham’s Mount Moriah is the actual location of Mount Calvary (Golgotha) as well as the entire Jerusalem Temple complex.
  • Isaac, the designated sacrificial victim, carries the wood for the sacrifice.
  • Isaac is called Abraham’s “only begotten son”.
  • The designated victim is “flanked” by two others.
  • Isaac asks a few questions, but he never complains.
  • God provides the sacrificial victim – a perfect ram.
  • The ram’s head was caught in a thicket of thorns.
  • After three days, Abraham’s son was safely returned to him.
  • Both were obedient to God’s will, even unto death.
  • God’s providence saved Isaac, and indirectly, Isaac’s future son … Jacob/Israel … the “source” of the 12 tribes.
  • From Israel would eventually come Jesus Christ, in whom all the nations of the earth would indeed be blessed.
  • The Church that Jesus founded would go on to “possess the gates of their enemies” … and most importantly … the gates of hell would never prevail against it.

“Divine serendipity”: Muslims deny Jesus is God, deny Jesus died on the cross, yet choose Friday (the day Jesus sanctified by his death) for worship


When Mohamed decided which day to officially set aside for Muslim divine worship, Saturday and Sunday “were already taken” … so he chose … for no particular reason … Friday.

It’s also worthy of note that when most of today’s Muslims kneel and bow in the direction of the city of Mecca during their prayers, the vast majority of them are also facing towards Calvary.

Catholics have an old Latin saying:  “Lex orandi, Lex credendi”  … how you worship is how you believe.

The great devotion that Muslims have for the Blessed Virgin Mary, coupled with many other “divine coincidences” (the town of Fatima, Portugal, where the most important Marian apparitions of the 20th century occurred, is named after Mohamed’s only daughter … who became a Christian)  are certainly reasons for hope, no matter how dark things seem to appear, in the short term.

How to recognize liturgical abuse

Click graphic to enlarge

Piercing the Darkness – Good Friday

Even a casual observer of American society can tell that there is a certain sinister chaos spreading throughout every aspect of public life these days. Naturally, as it filters through society it finds its way into our homes, families and personal lives as well. The reports of monumental breakups and takeovers, meltdowns, dysfunctions, cutbacks, disasters, protests, catastrophic events, scandals, and just plain moral chaos are, shall we say, legion, and it does not look like there will be any let up in the dismantling of our formerly decent society any time soon. Public officials and the movers-and-shakers of social communications long ago divorced American culture from authentic Christian values, and the result is that modern America has found itself first wandering then running down a very slippery slope to moral and social anarchy. The darkness has settled upon us.

This idea came home to me this week when I attended the 5th Anniversary Mass of Terri Schindler Schiavo at Ave Maria University in FL. How well I remember the horrible killing scene in Pinellas Park, FL in 2005 when the combined efforts of pro-lifers and some political allies were not able to stop the forward motion of such raw evil. From the Florida circuit courts all the way up to the US Supreme Court, the corrupt judiciaries refused to intervene and even ordered her killing, with impunity. The US Congress was almost laughably powerless to help. The utter uselessness of the bishop and clergy in the diocese where Terri was murdered was a microcosm of the Church Impotent rather than the Church Militant. The thousands of calls that the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation now gets in their attempt to stop other similar killings are an indication that this same darkness is now penetrating our society at an alarming level.

Every aspect of American society is touched by this chaos: the pervasive and unstoppable corruption in government, the major media, Hollywood, academia, healthcare, and even within our own churches! All of this corruption is multiplying the shadows over our society and penetrating into every aspect of personal and family life as we speak.

What I find most alarming, as an exorcist, is the spread of truly occult phenomena in our youth culture. It used to be that vampires had to go back into their coffins with the first streaks of dawn. Now handsome young vampires are sullying the covers of every gossip magazine and tantalizing prime time audiences with their evil – and teenage girls are just swooning for them…. Don’t be fooled: the vampire culture is the spawn of the Harry Potter culture that has washed over our youth for a decade and still seduces parents into thinking it is all just “harmless entertainment.” Kids dressing up as sorcerers, blogging about vampires, dabbling in Wicca – it’s just plain seductive and evil. Our Baptismal Promises demand that we “reject Satan and all his works and all his empty promises,” and that includes demons, witches and vampires!

If I were anything other than a Christian, I would probably despair of the status of the culture all around us. Yes, there are movements fighting to take the culture and politics back, but most of these are just about political power and, if they have an effect at all, they will just install another version of corruption in place of the political devils they cast out.

The reason I don’t despair in the face of all this darkness, though, is because I remember that once-upon-a-time Evil had its Hour. I am not talking about sixty-minutes of willowy darkness. I am talking about the worst crime ever committed in history, the blackest deed ever known to man: the killing of the Son of God on Calvary. The corrupt politicians, clergy and laity of the day were all implicated in the crime. Worst of all, the devil was sitting back gloating at his masterpiece of evil.

But much to the devil’s surprise, evil did not win the Day…because at that very moment of deepest darkness, the Son of God did something utterly unforeseen and caught the whole wicked world unaware: He shattered the darkness and rose from the dead! Who would have imagined!

Ever after, those who persevere through Good Friday looking toward the joy of Easter Sunday find themselves immersed in the same eternal mystery of Light. Christ has pierced the darkness and given us Hope! We can sing the great “Te Deum” hymn with the greatest fervor now in every dark hour of our lives: “In you Lord is our hope – and we shall never hope in vain!”

Sincerely,

Fr. Thomas Euteneuer

Human Life International

Reflections on Good Friday and the Passion of Jesus Christ

The coming of the Son of God to die for us, so sins could be forgiven,
is history’s greatest love story.

In that singular event, the Law, free will, good, evil, faith, grace,
and most importantly, God Himself
acted to bring about the salvation of the world.

It happened in a way that most never expected …
that billions still refuse to accept
and many more do not fully understand.

It happened for the benefit of mankind
and for the glory of God …
and it was good!

Reflections on Holy Thursday and the Last Supper

At the Last Supper, Jesus instituted the New Covenant, and he also gave us the definitive sacrifice of that Covenant, his very own body, blood, soul and divinity, under the traditional auspices of ordinary bread and wine. Doing so, Jesus perfectly fulfilled all the institutions, holy days and sacrifices of old, particularly the Jewish Passover, making them, along with the totality of the Old Law, things of the past.

If this were not the case, then there would have been no reason for Jesus to give us a “NEW” Covenant at all, since the “OLD” (with a few strategic alterations) might have then sufficed.

2Corinthians 5:17 –

“If then any be in Christ a new creature, the old things are passed away. Behold all things are made new.”

What had only been prophesied before in scripture, through mysterious types and shadows, was now a new, eternal and saving reality.

Jesus was the lamb whose blood would be poured out, in order to save the people of God from Satan, sin, and eternal death.

The ancient Passover observance was always about Jesus. And once Jesus fully revealed himself and completed his work, all of the ancient observances and feasts would be divinely incorporated into just one universal (Catholic) New Covenant observance of the Paschal Mystery, that we know today as the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Lest anyone doubt this is true,  all we need do is consult the Old Testament Book of Malachi, written around 400 years before the Last Supper, where this singular, eternal, and uniquely “unbloody” sacrifice was described and clearly foretold.

Malachi looks forward to a time when only a “clean” (unbloody) sacrifice would be offered up to God … not by the Jews … not only in Jerusalem … but by Gentiles (non-Jews) the world over.

Malachi 1:11

“From the rising of the sun, even to the going down, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place there is sacrifice, in every place there is a clean oblation (unbloody sacrifice) for my name is great among the Gentiles, says the Lord of Hosts.”

From this it should be absolutely clear … it’s no accident that today, every hour of every day, every day of every year, in virtually every nation, all around the world … Jesus, in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass … is offered up to God, for the needs of the whole world. And in this sinful and seriously misguided world, it’s very nice to know that somewhere, there’s always a few good people still faithfully heeding Christ’s personal instructions: “Do this in memory of me.”

Anticipated at the Last Supper, fulfilled at Calvary, made present for us (and for every generation) at Mass … this one time, once for all, eternal sacrifice serves as the “engine of divine grace” that in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, perpetually empowers the Church and sanctifies its members, courtesy of Jesus, our perfect victim, high priest, mediator, God, risen brother and king.

The “token” which confirms God’s promise of salvation is none other than the Holy Eucharist, wherein the same Christ, truly present under the auspices of bread and wine, personally reaffirms his new, sacred and saving  covenant, each and every time we receive him. A better example of a real, close, personal relationship with Jesus Christ is available only in Heaven!

This is why Catholics have priests, rather than ministers, since the primary function of a priest is to offer sacrifice to God, for the people, and the Mass is indeed a true, liturgical re-presentation of Jesus Christ’s singular, perfect, and eternal  sacrifice on the cross, at Calvary. An image of the crucified Jesus on the cross … the crucifix … serves to remind us of this.

It’s also no accident that at the Last Supper, Jesus  instituted the Ministerial Priesthood of the Catholic Church, making the apostles the first New Covenant priests, since the fullness of the ministerial priesthood will always be essential to the basic work of the church (teaching, sanctifying, governing, in Jesus’ name).

It wasn’t until a few days later, when the apostles encountered the risen Christ, that they began to truly understand how all this actually worked. The scriptures explain that Jesus made things pretty clear for them:

Luke 24:44-48  And he (the risen Jesus) said to them: These are the words which I spoke to you while I was yet with you, that all things must needs be fulfilled which are written in the law of Moses and in the prophets and in the psalms, concerning me.  Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.  And he said to them: Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer and to rise again from the dead, the third day:  And that penance and remission of sins should be preached in his name, unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.  And you are witnesses of these things.

Jesus spent another 40 days working with the apostles, before he ascended to Heaven, promising:

John 14:26  … the Paraclete, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your mind, whatsoever I shall have said to you.

Lenten study: The Seven Times Jesus Shed His Blood for Our Salvation

by Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Ph.D., D.D., LL.D., Litt.D.

There are certain things in life which are too beautiful to be forgotten, such as the Love of a mother. Hence we treasure her picture. The Love of soldiers who Sacrificed themselves for their country is likewise too beautiful to be forgotten, hence we revere their memory on Memorial Day. But the greatest Blessing which ever came to this Earth was the visitation of the Son of God in the Form and Habit of Man. His Life, above all lives, is too beautiful to be forgotten, hence we treasure the Divinity of His Words in Sacred Scripture, and the Charity of His Deeds in our daily actions. Unfortunately this is all some Souls remember, namely His Words and His Deeds; important as these are, they are not the greatest characteristic of the Divine Savior.

The most Sublime Act in the History of Christ was His Death. Death is always important, for it seals a Destiny. Any Dying Man is a Scene. Any dying Scene is a Sacred Place. That is why the great literature of the past which has touched on the Emotions surrounding Death has never passed out of date. But of all Deaths in the record of Man, none was more important than the Death of Christ. Everyone else who was ever born into the world, came into it to Live; Our Lord came into it to Die. Death was a Stumbling Block to the life of Socrates, but it was the Crown to the Life of Christ. He Himself told us that He came “to give His Life as a Redemption for many”; that no one could take away His Life; but He would lay It down of Himself. (He was both Priest and Victim)

If then Death was the Supreme Moment for which Christ lived, It was therefore the One Thing He wished to have remembered. He did not ask that men should write down His Words into a Scripture; He did not ask that His Kindness to the Poor should be recorded in History; but He did ask that Men remember His Death. And in order that Its Memory might not be any haphazard narrative on the part of Men, He Himself instituted the precise way It should be recalled.

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Novena in Preparation for the Feast of CORPUS CHRISTI

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Novena in Preparation for the Feast of CORPUS CHRISTI

I thank Thee, Jesus, my Divine Redeemer, for coming upon this earth for our salvation, and for instituting the august Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist in order to remain with us until the end of the world.

I thank Thee for hiding beneath the Eucharistic species Thy infinite majesty and beauty, which Thy Angels delight to behold, so that I might have courage to approach the throne of Thy Mercy.

I thank Thee, most loving Jesus, for having made Thyself my food, and for uniting me to Thyself with so much love in this wonderful Sacrament that I may live in Thee.

I thank Thee, my Jesus, for giving Thyself to me in this Most Blessed Sacrament, and so enriching it with the treasures of Thy love that Thou hast no greater gift to give me.

I thank Thee not only for becoming my food but also for offering Thyself as a continual sacrifice to Thy Eternal Father for my salvation.

I thank Thee, Divine Priest, for offering Thyself as a Sacrifice daily upon our altars in adoration and homage to the Most Blessed Trinity, and for making amends for our poor and miserable adorations.

I thank Thee for renewing in this daily Sacrifice the actual propitiatory Sacrifice of the Cross offered on Calvary, in which Thou satisfiest Divine justice for us poor sinners.

I thank Thee, dear Jesus, for having become the priceless Victim to merit for me the fullness of Heavenly favors. Awaken in me such confidence in Thee that their fullness may descend ever more fruitfully upon my soul and let me always be worthy of Thee.

I thank Thee for offering Thyself in thanksgiving to God for all His benefits, spiritual and temporal, which He hath bestowed upon me. In union with Thine offering of Thyself to Thy Father in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, I ask for this special favor:

(Mention your petition here)

If it be Thy holy Will, grant my request. Through Thee I also hope to receive the grace of perseverance in Thy love and faithful service, a holy death, and a happy eternity with Thee in Heaven. Amen.

O Lord, Thou hast given us this Sacred Banquet, in which Christ is received, the memory of His Passion is renewed, the mind is filled with grace, and a pledge of future glory is given to us who are worthy of Thee. Thou hast given them bread from Heaven. Having all sweetness within.

Let us pray.

God our Father, for Thy glory and our salvation Thou appointed Jesus Christ eternal High Priest. May the souls He gained for Thee by His Blood come to share in the power of His Cross and Resurrection by celebrating His Memorial in this Most Blessed Sacrament, for He liveth and reigneth with Thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, forever. Amen.

O Jesus, since Thou hast left us a remembrance of Thy Passion beneath the veils of this Sacrament, grant us, we pray, so to venerate the sacred mysteries of Thy Body and Blood that we may always enjoy the fruits of Thy Redemption through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Submitted by Doria2

What is grace and how does it work?

Q: What is grace and how does it work?

A: Grace is indeed a free gift from God, since God is sovereign and all powerful, and nobody can force God to give it to them, by any means.

Grace comes in two “flavors”:

“Actual grace” empowers. David slew Goliath by the grace of God, yet the grace David received was not capable of getting David (or anyone else) into Heaven.

“Sanctifying grace” is a share in God’s own divine life. As such, sanctifying grace is capable of transforming sinners into saints and making them adopted children of God, but only if the sinner chooses to “cooperate” with it.

Sanctifying grace is necessary for salvation, and without it, no one can enter Heaven.

Sanctifying grace was obtained by the work Jesus Christ did for us during his time here on earth, work which came to its’ fruition on the cross, at Calvary.

Since Jesus is man, the grace he obtained for us accrues to the benefit of all mankind.

Since Jesus is God, the power and the effectiveness of the grace he obtained for us is both infinite and eternal.

The Church that Jesus personally founded, authorized, constituted, and empowered, while he still walked the earth, is the primary distributor of all God’s grace.

Grace is proof that God desires all to be saved, and to come to the knowledge of his truth.

If it is impossible for God to allow sin into heaven, how will we get there?

Q: If it is impossible for God to allow sin into heaven, how will we get there?

A: By the transforming power of the grace that Jesus obtained for us on the cross, at Calvary.

How is the sacrifice of the Mass and the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary the same?

Q: How is the sacrifice of the Mass and the sacrifice of Jesus on Calvary the same?

A: Jesus was crucified only once … at Calvary … body, blood, soul and divinity … but he will always BE the eternal sacrifice for sin that served to redeem the whole world.

At Mass, the VERY SAME crucified (and risen) body, blood, soul, and divinity of Jesus Christ becomes present for us on the altar.

Since it (he) is the SAME Jesus … then it (he) is also the SAME one time, once for all, eternal sacrifice for sin that was present on the cross at Calvary.

The logic is irrefutable.

There’s other similarities, too, but they get kind of “deep”.

Send me an email if you want more info.

Fr. Tom Euteneuer: Walking with Jesus Christ Through the Week Called Holy.

Fr. Tom Euteneuer: Walking with Jesus Christ Through the Week Called Holy

A short excerpt from Fr. E’s weekly newsletter:

On Holy Thursday two great institutions are commemorated. Let us not overlook Our Lord’s firm desire to establish them as perpetual gifts for us: one is the sacred priesthood and the other is the Eucharist. He said that He “greatly desired” to eat that Passover with His disciples and that is because He wanted to entrust to certain unworthy men the awesome task of handing down the memorial of His inestimable Sacrifice “in remembrance of Him” to the end of time. Will we thank Him from the depths of our hearts this week for the infinite richness of His Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Eucharist and for the blessing of His priest brothers who bring that Gift to us?

As we continue to walk with Him we reach the week’s summit on Friday – Calvary – but we notice that He is now accompanied in His suffering by His Mother. She was not at the Last Supper because She was not given the gift of the priesthood, but She walked with Him to another Altar of Sacrifice and stood there in perfect union with His redemptive suffering. Let us walk with the Mother of Sorrows on this sorrowful day to derive the deepest possible graces from the Cross that She so perfectly shared in. Then, when He is put in the tomb, let us stay by Her side on Holy Saturday, in vigil, contemplating, grieving for the sins that put Him there and waiting in “joyful hope” for the Day that will never end.

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Abraham and Isaac, the sacrifice, and the prophetic word

isaac-sacrifice.jpgjccarriescrossenh.jpg

 Holy Week is fast approaching.

Someone recently asked: “Does Genesis 22 make any sense to anyone who isn’t Christian?

Gen 22:2 He said to him: Take thy only begotten son Isaac, whom thou lovest, and go into the land of vision; and there thou shalt offer him for an holocaust upon one of the mountains which I will shew thee.
Gen 22:3 So Abraham rising up in the night, saddled his ass, and took with him two young men, and Isaac his son: and when he had cut wood for the holocaust, he went his way to the place which God had commanded him.
Gen 22:4 And on the third day, lifting up his eyes, he saw the place afar off.
Gen 22:5 And he said to his young men: Stay you here with the ass; I and the boy will go with speed as far as yonder, and after we have worshipped, will return to you.
Gen 22:6 And he took the wood for the holocaust, and laid it upon Isaac his son; and he himself carried in his hands fire and a sword. And as they two went on together,
Gen 22:7 Isaac said to his father: My father. And he answered: What wilt thou, son? Behold, saith he, fire and wood: where is the victim for the holocaust?
Gen 22:8 And Abraham said: God will provide himself a victim for an holocaust, my son. So they went on together.
Gen 22:9 And they came to the place which God had shewn him, where he built an altar, and laid the wood in order upon it; and when he had bound Isaac his son, he laid him on the altar upon the pile of wood.
Gen 22:10 And he put forth his hand, and took the sword, to sacrifice his son.
Gen 22:11 And behold, an angel of the Lord from heaven called to him, saying: Abraham, Abraham. And he answered: Here I am.
Gen 22:12 And he said to him: Lay not thy hand upon the boy, neither do thou any thing to him: now I know that thou fearest God, and hast not spared thy only begotten son for my sake.
Gen 22:13 Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw behind his back a ram, amongst the briers, sticking fast by the horns, which he took and offered for a holocaust instead of his son.

The questioner went on to wonder if non-Christians, particularly Jews and Muslims, saw any deeper meaning in this passage, and then he went on to describe what he could see in it.

This was my reply:

A-a-a-h, but to a discerning Christian, it is the story of the lamb, and the story of Calvary, as revealed in Old Testament types and symbols.

Isaac was the son of promise … not Ishmael. And since Ishmael was banished, along with his mom … Isaac alone remains … so truly is the “only” son.

The story of the faithful and obedient son, who carries on his back, the wood for the sacrifice.

A 3-day journey.

The wood signifies the cross.

The mountain is Moriah … later known as Golgotha and Calvary.

The lamb is Christ.

The brier thicket is the crown of thorns.

Abraham and Isaac are a people saved by faith, faith that is signified and memorialized by the blood of the lamb.

And why should God sacrifice his own son for a people who wouldn’t do the same for him, anyway?

How Does Jesus’ Death, at the hands of men, pay a debt men owe to God?

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The atoning sacrifice of Christ on the cross at Calvary forms the basis for what I like to call “The Peculiar Theology of Redemption”.

And there’s no doubt that the theology behind our redemption IS peculiar, because it had to be … in order to give Satan the devil just enough “rope” to hang himself. 

Here’s how it works:

The first sin had to be a very serious matter, Adam also had to fully understand that it was indeed very serious, and the sin also had to be committed with the full consent of Adam’s will.

Finally, the consequences of that first sin had to be such that a simple apology, a pledge of repentance, and God’s subsequent forgiveness, would still not be sufficient to make all things whole again.

Based on all of the above, we know that the first sin resulted in Adam’s total rejection of God, and his “throwing in” with Satan, against God.

Adam even went so far as to transfer dominion of the whole earth, which God had earlier given him, over to Satan.

And since Adam enjoyed free will, God permitted him to make these choices, and to suffer the eternal consequences.

Once all this was done, Satan turned on Adam, and made a slave of him and his descendents, because, as everyone knows, all the offspring of a slave automatically belong to the master.

This presented a serious problem, because man had no ability to overcome the supernatural dominion that Satan now exercised over him.

Furthermore, God was under no obligation to provide his supernatural graces to his enemies.

Deprived of God’s grace, Eden soon disappeared, Adam and Eve began to age, suffer, and die, and the world became an increasingly more hostile and forbidding place.

Mankind lived under constant threat from Satan, who was given the power of death over them, according to their free will choice, and according to God’s perfect justice.

But this is not what God had in mind when he created man, so God promised to eventually send a redeemer to destroy Satan’s evil dominion, forgive sins, defeat death, and restore all things.

That is exactly what Jesus did.

And the only reason Jesus could do it, when no other human ever could, was because Jesus was never “stained” by sin … and Satan had no power at all, over one without sin.

Under God’s most basic law, one without sin is not liable to die. (This was the flip-side of the same law that Adam broke, when he sinned.)

Jesus permitted Satan and his minions, the Jews and the Romans, to unjustly put him to death, knowing full well that this was the only way Satan’s evil dominion could be legally destroyed, as no one, not even the devil, had the authority to take the life of a sinless man, let alone the only son of God.

Once Jesus died, Satan was judged for his great sin, stripped of all that he had earlier gained from Adam’s fall, and left destitute.

Jesus was raised from the dead and appointed the new head of all mankind. God was now more than willing to forgive man’s sins, and our redemption was truly at hand.

Now, anyone who rejects Satan and swears faithful allegiance to Jesus (typically through baptism) is able to have their sins forgiven, become a living temple of the Holy Spirit, and among other things, also become a member of God’s own family.

The Church carries on Christ’s great work of redemption in the world today, and it will continue to do so, until the end of time.

We have Christ’s word on it.