Catholic Bible 101

21st Century Catholic Apologetics for Mary's Spiritual Warriors

The Dead

There are many Protestants who believe that it is forbidden to pray to the Saints in heaven.  They confuse our Catholic prayers to them, asking for their intercession, as being divination of the saints, which is strictly forbidden by the Bible.  So what does the Bible really say about the "dead"?  Is being dead in the body = to being dead in the spirit?   Is it forbidden to talk to the dead?  If Jesus talked to the dead while He was alive on earth, did He violate his own command to not divine them up?



The answers are below, and categorized for you.  The dead in Christ are much more alive than they ever were here on earth,  because they are not constrained by their bodies, they are one with Christ, and they share in his glory.  And by asking for the prayers of the saints, they do not somehow stand "between" us and Jesus, but rather, alongside of us in our prayers.  James 5:16 says that the prayers of a holy person are very powerful, and who is more holy than someone who is already in heaven sharing in Christ's glory?  Paul says that intercessory prayer is a good thing, in 1 Timothy 2:1.  And since saints in heaven never sleep, they can pray for us around the clock, even while we are asleep, at work, or at play.

And what about the poor souls in purgatory?  We can pray, fast, and suffer for them too. If purgatory wasn't real, then the verses below that talk about praying, fasting, and suffering for the dead would be meaningless.



The “Dead” in Christ are Not Dead, but ALIVE!

Matthew 22: 31-32: And as for the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was said to you by God,  `I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not God of the dead, but of the living."

Hebrews 12:1:Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us

(**NOTE - Witnesses have to be alive in order to witness for us, to our Judge, Jesus Christ)


The State of Those Who Die in Christ

Luke 20:35-36:but those who are accounted worthy to attain to that age and to the resurrection from the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage,  for they cannot die any more, because they are equal to angels and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.


Death is Not a Barrier that Separates us From Our Loved Ones in Christ

Romans 8:38-39 For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,  nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.


The “Dead” in Christ Share in Christ’s Divinity and Glory

1 Corinthians 6:17: But he who is united to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.

1 Peter 5:1: So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ as well as a partaker in the glory that is to be revealed.

2 Peter 1:4: by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, that through these you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of passion, and become partakers of the divine nature.


Divination of the Dead (forbidden by Deuteronomy 18:10)

1 Samuel 28: 8-16: So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments, and went, he and two men with him; and they came to the woman by night. And he said, "Divine for me by a spirit, and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you."  The woman said to him, "Surely you know what Saul has done, how he has cut off the mediums and the wizards from the land. Why then are you laying a snare for my life to bring about my death?"  But Saul swore to her by the LORD, "As the LORD lives, no punishment shall come upon you for this thing."  Then the woman said, "Whom shall I bring up for you?" He said, "Bring up Samuel for me."  When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice; and the woman said to Saul, "Why have you deceived me? You are Saul."  The king said to her, "Have no fear; what do you see?" And the woman said to Saul, "I see a god coming up out of the earth."  He said to her, "What is his appearance?" And she said, "An old man is coming up; and he is wrapped in a robe." And Saul knew that it was Samuel, and he bowed with his face to the ground, and did obeisance.  Then Samuel said to Saul, "Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?" Saul answered, "I am in great distress; for the Philistines are warring against me, and God has turned away from me and answers me no more, either by prophets or by dreams; therefore I have summoned you to tell me what I shall do."  And Samuel said, "Why then do you ask me, since the LORD has turned from you and become your enemy?


The People Who Die in the State of Grace Appear Alive on Earth

Matthew 27: 50-53: And Jesus cried again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.  And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom; and the earth shook, and the rocks were split; the tombs also were opened, and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

Matthew 17 1-3: And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart.  And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.  And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.


The Dead Interceding for Us Here on Earth

2 Maccabees 15: 11-16: He armed each of them not so much with confidence in shields and spears as with the inspiration of brave words, and he cheered them all by relating a dream, a sort of vision, which was worthy of belief.  What he saw was this: Onias, who had been high priest, a noble and good man, of modest bearing and gentle manner, one who spoke fittingly and had been trained from childhood in all that belongs to excellence, was praying with outstretched hands for the whole body of the Jews.  Then likewise a man appeared, distinguished by his gray hair and dignity, and of marvelous majesty and authority.  And Onias spoke, saying, "This is a man who loves the brethren and prays much for the people and the holy city, Jeremiah, the prophet of God."  Jeremiah stretched out his right hand and gave to Judas a golden sword, and as he gave it he addressed him thus:  "Take this holy sword, a gift from God, with which you will strike down your adversaries."

(**NOTE - Here the dead Onias and the dead Jeremiah appear on earth, and it is revealed that Onias and Jeremiah intercede and pray for their people on earth)

Luke 16: 19-31: "There was a rich man, who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day.  And at his gate lay a poor man named Lazarus, full of sores,  who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man's table; moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.  The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom. The rich man also died and was buried;  and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes, and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus in his bosom.  And he called out, `Father Abraham, have mercy upon me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am in anguish in this flame.'  But Abraham said, `Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish.  And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.'  And he said, `Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father's house,  for I have five brothers, so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.'  But Abraham said, `They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them.'  And he said, `No, father Abraham; but if some one goes to them from the dead, they will repent.'  He said to him, `If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be convinced if some one should rise from the dead.'"

Revelation 6: 9-11 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne;  they cried out with a loud voice, "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?"  Then they were each given a white robe and told to rest a little longer, until the number of their fellow servants and their brethren should be complete, who were to be killed as they themselves had been.

(**NOTE – Here the dead saints in heaven are asking God to stop the slaughter of us believers here on earth by taking out the enemy’s footsoldiers).


It’s OK to Talk to the Dead (but not to conjure them up to get hidden knowledge)

Luke 7:12-15: As he drew near to the gate of the city, behold, a man who had died was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a large crowd from the city was with her.  And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, "Do not weep."  And he came and touched the bier, and the bearers stood still. And he said, "Young man, I say to you, arise."  And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And he gave him to his mother.

John 11: 38-44: Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb; it was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.  Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days."  Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you would believe you would see the glory of God?"  So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.  I knew that thou hears me always, but I have said this on account of the people standing by, that they may believe that thou didst send me."  When he had said this, he cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come out."  The dead man came out, his hands and feet bound with bandages, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, "Unbind him, and let him go."

Acts 9: 36-41: Now there was at Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity.  In those days she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.  Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him entreating him, "Please come to us without delay."  So Peter rose and went with them. And when he had come, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping, and showing tunics and other garments which Dorcas made while she was with them.  But Peter put them all outside and knelt down and prayed; then turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, rise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up.  And he gave her his hand and lifted her up. Then calling the saints and widows he presented her alive.

Matthew 17 1-3: And after six days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John his brother, and led them up a high mountain apart.  And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his garments became white as light.  And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him.


We On Earth Pray, Suffer, and Fast for the Dead

2 Timothy 1: 16-18: May the Lord grant mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, for he often refreshed me; he was not ashamed of my chains,  but when he arrived in Rome he searched for me eagerly and found me; may the Lord grant him to find mercy from the Lord on that Day; and you well know all the service he rendered at Ephesus.

(**NOTE – Here Paul prays for his dead friend Onesiphorus. Note the past tense in all of Paul’s references to him, and how Paul prays for his family remaining behind).

2 Maccabees 12: 39-45: On the next day, as by that time it had become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kinsmen in the sepulchres of their fathers.  Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was why these men had fallen.  So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden;  and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen.  He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection.  For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead.  But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.

1 Samuel 31: 8-13: On the morrow, when the Philistines came to strip the slain, they found Saul and his three sons fallen on Mount Gilboa.  And they cut off his head, and stripped off his armor, and sent messengers throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news to their idols and to the people.  They put his armor in the temple of Ashtaroth; and they fastened his body to the wall of Bethshan.  But when the inhabitants of Jabesh-gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul,  all the valiant men arose, and went all night, and took the body of Saul and the bodies of his sons from the wall of Beth-shan; and they came to Jabesh and burnt them there.  And they took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree in Jabesh, and fasted seven days.

(**NOTE- Here is a prime example of fasting for the dead, namely Saul and his sons).


The Baptism of Suffering

Mark 10:38-39:  But Jesus said to them, "You do not know what you are asking. Are you able to drink the cup that I drink, or to be baptized with the baptism with which I am baptized?"  And they said to him, "We are able." And Jesus said to them, "The cup that I drink you will drink; and with the baptism with which I am baptized, you will be baptized;

(**NOTE – Here Jesus refers to another kind of “baptism”, his  “baptism” of suffering and martyrdom).

Luke 12:50: I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how I am constrained until it is accomplished!

(**NOTE – Another reference to the “baptism” of suffering and martyrdom by Jesus).

1 Corinthians 15:29:  Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf?

(**NOTE – Being “baptized on behalf of the dead” means to suffer for them).


The Dead Present Our Prayers from Earth to God in the Form of Incense

Revelation 5:8: And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints;





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