Praying to Mary and the Saints


#1

Friends,

I wish to enlist your assistance. A Protestant friend of mine and I were discussing prayers to Mary and the Saints. He countered with Ecclesiastes 9:5-6 (KJV)

“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. As well their love, as their hatred and their envy, is perished long ago; neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun”

He also sent me an article:

Do the Dead Observe Earth’s Activities?
by Wayne Jackson
Christian Courier: Questions
Tuesday, June 25, 2002

…Where Is the Evidence?
There is no biblical information with which I am familiar that would provide any support for the idea that those in the realm of the dead are able to view the activities of people who now dwell upon the earth. To affirm otherwise calls for evidence. If there is such evidence, I have not seen it. The fact is, there appears to be a direct denial of this theory in the book of Ecclesiastes.

We cannot, at this time, discuss the technical intricacies associated with the book of Ecclesiastes, e.g., authorship and literary structure – nor even the larger context in which the following passage is found. It must suffice at this point simply to say that this sacred book involves an exploration into the meaning of human existence, and what pursuits will, or will not, lead to that level of happiness the Creator intended that we ideally should enjoy. With that said, here is the passage we wish to explore.

“For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. As well their love, as their hatred and their envy, is perished long ago; neither have they any more a portion for ever in anything that is done under the sun” (9:5-6).
In this context the writer illustrates the futility of focusing one’s attention primarily upon the things of this earth. There are several reasons cited:

Earthly life will end eventually. Death stalks us all, and we are confronted with this morbid reality daily.

Once a person dies, his ties with earthly environments are severed. He has no awareness of the happenings transpiring upon this planet. He has no further earthly rewards to be received, because he has been removed from this realm, and, in fact, even the memory of him, as a general rule, will eventually fade.

Former earthly associations – good or bad – are interrupted by death. The deceased person is removed forever from activity “under the sun.” This expression, used twenty-nine times in the book of Ecclesiastes, refers to earth’s domain.
In this passage we focus our attention especially upon the affirmation that “the dead know not anything … under the sun.” It is not that they are unconscious in their current spirit state (as materialists allege); rather, they are estranged from the experiences of this environment. Note what several scholars have said regarding this text.

Adam Clarke noted that the dead are cut off from this present realm; they “know nothing of what passes under the sun” (Commentary on the Bible, III, p. 829).

Another writer says that this text affirms that the dead “know not anything … so far as their bodily senses and worldly affairs are concerned” (Jamieson, Faussett & Brown, Bible Commentary, Zondervan, 1961, p. 484).

W.J. Deane observed that “what passes on earth affects them [the dead] not; the knowledge of it reaches them no longer” (Pulpit Commentary, Eerdman, 1950, Vol. 9, p. 226).

Matthew Henry commented that “[w]hen life is gone, all this world is gone with it, as to us … [t]here is an end of all our acquaintance with it, and the things of it. It does not appear that the dead know any thing of what is done by those they left behind” (Comprehensive Commentary, Brattleboro Co., 1845, Vol. III, p. 267).

All of the evidence gathered, therefore, leads to one conclusion. When a person dies, his earthly activity ceases (no reincarnation here), and any active knowledge of earth’s realm is veiled from his vision. This fact highlights the folly of attempting to pray to the dead – as practiced in some religious movements (e.g. in Catholicism’s “prayers to the saints”).

I sent him the CA tract “Praying to the Saints”; however, it does not address the Ecclesiastes verse.

Do you guys/gals mind weighing in to assist?

Thanks

Maranatha,
Hans


#2

I keep asking a question and never get a satisfactory answer. They need to tell us what is the Scriptural meanings of death.

Maggie


#3

The main point here with all these OT quotations, including Ecclesiastes is that they are irrelevant.

Before Christ’s sacrifice, the dead went to Hades, where they indeed had no knowledge of what happened in the world of the living.

Jesus at his resurrection opened the gates of Heaven, and enabled the redeemed to enter the direct presence of God in heaven. many of them (the Heavenly Saints) are there already. We see the redeemed in heaven in Revelation.


#4

This is my first time posting on this site. I will do the best I can for you.

I find the best counter to that old Ecclesiates argument is in Ecclesiates. Consider this: Ecclesiates 9:5 does state that the dead know nothing, but it also says more. The full text of Eccl 9:5 is For the living know that they are to die, but the dead no longer know anything. There is no further recompense for them, because all memory of them is lost.

No further recompense? Doesn’t this basically state there’s NOTHING after death? It would seem so. Yet, look at Eccl 12:7. The life breath returns to God, huh? Sounds as though the soul does do something after death.

It would appear as though the author of Eccl. is trying to tell us that there is something going on after death. Though, he does point out that the dead (dead bodies) know nothing. They are dead. They’ll have to wait for the resurrection to know something again.

But the doctrine of the afterlife develops. In the New Testament we have clear references to life after death, etc. One of the most powerful for any Catholic apologist is the transfiguration. Moses and Elijah appear with the Lord and ‘converse with him’ (Mt. 17:3). Now, Moses and Elijah are obviously dead. Yet they converse with the Lord. It would seem as though the dead CAN do something after death. Indeed they can converse with the Transfigured Lord. It’s probable that if they can do that, that they can do other things, like pray for the living.

Other important verses are the parable of the Rich man and Lazarus. In verses 24 and 25 that the Rich Man and Abraham (both physically dead) can talk to one another. They obviously know something. Furthermore, verses 27 and 28 show that the dead man knows what’s going on back on earth. This seems to me a strong indication that the dead are very much alive (spiritually) after physical death and cognizent of what is happening on earth.

Finally, let us look at Revelation. In chapter 6, verse 9 we see the martyrs who had died for God’s word. They are in heaven. In verse 10, they cry out! They obviously know something. What is that something? Look for yourself, “How long will it be, holy and true master, before you sit in judgment and avenge our blood on the inhabitants of the earth.” Then, later, in verse 11: “they were told to be patient a little while longer until the nu,ber was filled of their fellow servants and brothers who were going to be killed as they had been.” So, the dead are speaking, asking questions, and they receive and answer. They obviously know whats going on down on earth! At least, it seems pretty conclusive that they do to me.

Now, if they can know whats going on, I don’t see why they couldn’t pray and ask the Lord for mercy on our behalf as they asked the Lord for something else in Revelation.

I hope this helps you, sir. If it doesn’t, I apologize.


#5

Then I suggest that you ask him who that great cloud of witnesses is in this passage here in Hebrews 12:1 “And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us:”

Also, what do these passages from the Gospels mean then?

Mark 12 :27 “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You therefore do greatly err.”

Luke 20 :38 “For he is not the God of the dead, but of the living: for all live to him.”

Matthew 22 :32 “I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”

Strongly advise that you know the context of these passages well before taking them into “the fray” so to speak…
Pax vobiscum,


#6

Thank you all. I had already pointed out to him about the transfiguration and that He is the God of the living, not the dead. I guess I was looking for clarification of Ecclesiastes, because my friend was saying that the dead do not know the living.

I had forgotten to bring up the difference between Old Testament and New Testament afterlife.

Maranatha,
Hans


#7

Your protestant freind only uses “CONTEXT” when it seems to benefit his side? Ask him to put Scripture into context everytime. If you could get him to understand Scripture and context, he would discover that Scripture is 100% Catholic.


#8

Praying to Mary has always been an option in the church.Don’t get me wrong, we are surrounded by the spirits of the saints, but we are not commanded to pray directly to the dead. That is an option that many Catholics choose. I for one pray to the trinity in Jesus’ name. Jesus said, come unto me all ye that labor, and I will give your souls rest.

                                We can come directly to God through Jesus now, because he is our high priest in heaven interceding for us. The saints in heaven do pray for us, but they wish for us to come to God alone **through Jesus**. But I do believe in the communion of saints, where the saints are praying for us. But we are not commanded to pray to dead saints.

#9

[quote=gladtobe]Praying to Mary has always been an option in the church.Don’t get me wrong, we are surrounded by the spirits of the saints, but we are not commanded to pray directly to the dead. That is an option that many Catholics choose. I for one pray to the trinity in Jesus’ name. Jesus said, come unto me all ye that labor, and I will give your souls rest.

We can come directly to God through Jesus now, because he is our high priest in heaven interceding for us. The saints in heaven do pray for us, but they wish for us to come to God alone through Jesus. But I do believe in the communion of saints, where the saints are praying for us. But we are not commanded to pray to dead saints.
[/quote]

How reassuring.

“Dead saints”? How is someone “dead” if he is alive in Christ?


#10

Those who are dead, are those who are no longer living **in this world. **We are not commanded to pray to those who have died and are are abiding in purgatory, hell or heaven. We are commanded to pray for the living.


#11

Rather, we are not to call upon the dead to predict the future, that is what necromancy is.


#12

Ask your friend who is more alive - those of us on earth or those that died in Christ and gained eternal life in Heaven?


#13

[quote=gladtobe]Praying to Mary has always been an option in the church.Don’t get me wrong, we are surrounded by the spirits of the saints, but we are not commanded to pray directly to the dead. That is an option that many Catholics choose. I for one pray to the trinity in Jesus’ name. Jesus said, come unto me all ye that labor, and I will give your souls rest.

[/quote]

Wow you sure do like saying this. I thought that you might want to read this quote: “[An] angel came and stood at the altar [in heaven] with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God” (Rev. 8:3–4).

And there are many more so if you would like to hear them just let me know.:wink:


#14

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