Luke 20:28 & Romans 14:9

I was doing some biblical research on the Communion of Saints, and in reference to Luke 20:28 (“Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for to him all of them are alive” (NRSV) ), I saw Romans 14:9 (“For to this end Christ died and lived again, so that he might be both Lord of the dead and the living” (NRSV) ).

The verse from Romans was used in a site I saw to attempt to refute Intercession of the Saints, that apparently “the dead are still the dead, and cannot hear” as well as that the Luke (and other Gospel) verses quoted above are in the context of the Sadducees asking of the Ressurection.

How could this line of reasoning be refuted?

Is the interpreter’s opinion infallible? If not, it could be wrong. His/her interpretation is only one of thousands of fallible interpretations based on personal opinion about what the Bible means.

Contrary to popular opinion, the Bible does not contain all of Divine Revelation.

The Catholic Church existed long before the Bible. There was no Bible per se until the end of the fourth century. The Church selected and canonized 27 of her own writings and named them the New Testament. One of the criteria for the selection of the NT canon was that the writings had to conform to the teaching of the Church. So any interpretation that differs from the Church’s teaching is the wrong interpretation. She is the only authorized, qualified interpreter.

Jim Dandy

I think that the verse in Romans is simply a reference to those that have died and are therefore no longer on earth. That passage does not speak to their heavenly state at all, and should not be used in an effort to contradict the clear implications of Luke 20:28. The saints are alive and well in heaven and they are aware of much more than our protestant friends realize.

I like the following passages which support the Catholic view:

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,

It would seem that this cloud of witnesses probably knows what is going on with us since they somehow surround us.

Hebrews 12:22-24
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the first-born who are enrolled in heaven, and to a judge who is God of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks more graciously than the blood of Abel.

This passage also seems to support the Catholic position in that we clearly communicate with Jesus and he knows what is going on. Apparently, the assembly of the saints is right there as well along with angels. Angels certainly know what is going on and they rejoice when a sinner repents(See Luke 15:7-10). That passage starts out by saying there “will be more joy in heaven over one sinner that repents”. That strongly suggests that all those in heaven know that a sinner has repented and that event happens all the time and in great numbers. Somehow, I think that the saints are all quite aware of all of this right along with angels mentioned in verse ten.

Likewise, we also find this in the book of Revelation:

Rev 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;

The saints in heaven are shown to be carrying the prayers of the saints on earth to the altar.

Furthermore, in Rev 6:9-10 we find this:

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?”

Clearly, the martyrs in heaven are fully aware that their blood had not been avenged on those that still dwell upon the earth. All of these passages show that they are alive and aware in heaven. There are other passages available in the Deuterocanonical books of scripture that were rejected by the reformers that would indicate that those in heaven do know what’s going on with the living on earth and that they hear our prayers.

God bless.

I agree with Pax’s take on Romans 14 about those dead being those who have incurred physical death, including those in the OT. As additional evidence, I cite:Matthew 27:52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.:o

Luke 20:28 is a text that can be used in support of intercession of the saints, because it is saying that all the saints are living in God’s eyes.

The Sadducees believed there was no “resurrection,” which means no physical raising of the body to be reunited with the soul sometime in the future. The word “resurrection” in Greek as well as in Aramaic and Hebrew refer only to that which is corporeal. It means “to stand up again” after having been knocked down in death. Some non-Catholics confuse this word to mean “bring back to life,” as in raising a person to eternal life as a soul in heaven. This is not the meaning of the word because spirits and souls are not corporeal or physical. It can only apply to that which is or once was in such a physical state, not that which does not possess such a state to begin with like a soul or a spirit.

Apparently the Sadducees had a similar misunderstanding of the terminology, for they appear to have had no belief in an afterlife of any kind. They also had an incorrect understanding of God and where we in the temporal order of things fit into God’s scope of the universe and time. To them God was also limited to the passing of time as experienced by human beings. And in this scope of understanding, those who had died were long gone.

Their pride in this understanding was combined with the use of the Pentateuch as a proof text for their beliefs. All their beliefs were based on the first five books of the Bible, the Book of Moses or the Torah. If it was not in the Torah, they did not believe it, or so they claimed.

Jesus saw through their triumphalism by quoting the Torah where God tells Moses at the burning bush: “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob,” not “I was their God.” This was significant, because for the Sadducees, God was supposed to be limited to experiencing things as humans did, to be subject to the passing of time and history.

But here, Jesus pointed out to their surprised silence, that the Torah taught the opposite. To God, Abraham is not dead—even though there has not yet been a resurrection of his body. Was Abraham in heaven? No, for Jesus had not yet died and made this possible. So what was Jesus saying?

That Moses himself testified to the fact that God was superior to the temporal existence, and that there was an afterlife because Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were there in it, no longer dead from this point of view of God, the real point of view of all things. God is not the God of those who are dead and in the grave and cannot hear our prayers for intercession. God is the God of these people who are living to him because they are truly alive in his presence. In a sense we are all, even though we have yet to enter eternity from our perspective.

Thus the saints are not dead, but alive, experiencing eternity that transcends our temporal world. They are thus very much capable of interceding.

Romans 14:9 is only speaking of things in the temporal and not the eternal state in which God exists. By saying that Jesus is Lord of those who are dead (from our standpoint) and the living (from our standpoint), Paul is commenting that no one is free from submission to Christ’s rule, even if they have died sometime in history’s past. Yes, even those currently dead will have to be subject to Christ one day, just as the living are today. Having died in the past before Christ came to earth does not exempt one from this.

One cannot exercise rule or lordship over those who don’t exist, if death is truly the state of nonexistence. This would mean Christ is not the Lord of those who died, because those who died would no longer exist. He is not the Lord of that which is not.

No, Christ is the Lord of the dead because, as Jesus told the Sadducees, no one is really dead from God’s viewpoint in eternity. We are all very much alive. Christ being God is thus also the God of the living, not the dead, for all are living to him.

And if all are living to him, then the saints can indeed intercede in our behalf.

consider this line from the Haydock Bible Commentary Luke 20:26

Ver. 26. We may here be astonished at the incredulity of the chiefs of the Jews, who, though they ought to have admired his wisdom, as something divine, and believed in him, are only surprised that he should have escaped their duplicity and snares. (Ven. Bede) — Their pride must have been a good deal hurt, to have been thus publicly refuted and confused by the wisdom of our Saviour’s answer. (Theophylactus)

and Romans 14:11

Ver. 11. The apostle here gives a remarkable proof of the divinity of our Saviour. He could not possibly be more express. He had said in the preceding verse, that all men should appear before the tribunal of Christ; to prove this assertion, he adduces this testimony of the prophet Isaias: “As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bend before me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” (Isaias chap. xlv.) Thus shall all acknowledge the power, the divinity, and sovereign dominion of Christ, by bending the knee; and by confessing to him, shall acknowledge him for the master and judge of all mankind. (Calmet)

This should clear up some confusion in Luke 20:28 and Romans 14:9

Thank you very much guys! In all honesty, I was unable to think of a way to counter the line of thinking until I read your posts. :smiley:

The assumption of that site appears to be soul sleep. One need only use the basic arguments against it.

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