Who Holds the Keys? (Pope or Prophet)

Closing Statement
by Steve Clifford - Representing the
One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church's Teaching
on "Apostolic Succession"

Contents:
Introduction
  Missing the Point?
  Evading the Issues?
  He Chose Twelve - and Paul
  Anachronistic Interpretation?
  Doctrine of LDS Apostles
  The Shepherd of Hermas
  Clement of Rome
  Dispensations - a Gospel for All Ages?
  Predictions of a Restoration?
  The Restoration of Ancient Christian Doctrines?
  Creatio Ex Nihilo?
  "The Offspring of God"?
  "God is Spirit"
  The Everlasting God
  Three Degrees of Glory?
  Celestial Marriage?
  Bread and Wine (Water?) as Body and Blood
  Recap and Conclusions


Introduction

I would like to thank Barry Bickmore for engaging in this debate in such a charitable manner. His approach has been scholarly and at the same time friendly. I sincerely appreciate his patience in granting as much time as I needed to complete each of the rounds, and especially my closing statement. My only regret in this entire debate is that we did not limit the number of words for each round of statements. Barry is obviously a prolific writer and researcher, although I must admit that some of what he has written is completely lost on me. I do try to understand what Barry is attempting to say, but some of his arguments simply don't make sense to me from a logical point of view. In this closing statement I hope to be able to respond to some of the specific arguments presented by Barry in his previous statements. I will also address some of the comments brought up in his last statement and then summarize my position with regards to the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. Hopefully I will be able to adequately cover everything in my closing statement in a straightforward, easily understood manner. If that is not the case I would welcome any questions, comments, or suggestions from readers so that I might clarify the Catholic Church teachings and beliefs presented here. Please feel free to contact me at stevec@transporter.com

I also appreciate the numerous comments I have received via e-mail from Mormons and non-Mormons alike concerning our debate. It has caused me to do more in-depth research and to consider the various arguments presented by all sides (Mormon, Catholic, Protestant, and non-Christian). I hope it has stirred the same level of interest for those who have taken the time to read our discussions. We must continue to study, pray, and dialogue together in charity in order to learn more about what we have in common with each other and what separates us.

Missing the Point?

In his previous statement Barry claims that I missed the point of his inclusion of Anglicans, Orthodox, and Monophysites under the "Catholic" umbrella. And what was his point? He said he only intended to point out that these groups call themselves "Catholic" and claim to trace an unbroken episcopal succession back to the Apostles. The purpose of my "lengthy tangent" was to show that although these churches may call themselves "Catholic", they (along with the many thousands of Protestant churches) have all cut themselves off from the one true Catholic Church through their refusal to accept the primacy and authority of the successor to Peter. It is absolutely essential that we have a solid understanding of what constitutes the one true Church. Jesus founded His Church to be a visible light on a mountain to proclaim His teachings with authority down through the centuries. The primary purpose of the Church is to teach mankind the truths which Jesus taught, the truths necessary for salvation. If we follow the wrong church we run the risk of never knowing the fullness of truth. As I said in my rebuttal to Barry's opening statement, the Nicene Creed designates four marks; one, holy, catholic (universal), and apostolic; which identify the true Church of Jesus Christ. I would challenge everyone to use these same four marks to evaluate any other church, and see if it meets the criteria established by the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325 for determining which is the true church established by Jesus Christ.

Evading the Issues?

Barry accused me of evading the issues in my rebuttal. He cites as an example my assertion that the office of Apostle was only a temporary provision. I made this point because having twelve living Apostles at all times is not a necessary requirement of the true church as Barry claims. The Apostles and the first disciples of Christ are the chief witnesses in the early Christian community. It was their calling to give testimony that they personally knew Our Lord and that they could bear witness to His resurrection. When John died at an old age he was the last of the Twelve Apostles. From then on the successors to the Apostles (bishops) would take great care to trace their authority back to one of the Apostles in order to establish their credibility. They taught what they had heard from the Apostles or what they had learned from the closest disciples of the Apostles, like Mark. In such fashion was the Gospel handed down. I quoted Acts 1:20-22 to support my contention that to be an apostle the requirements were: 1) to have accompanied the Lord Jesus, from the baptism of John until the day when He was crucified; and 2) to be a witness of His resurrection from the dead. This whole episode was being played out in the upper room prior to Pentecost in fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies (Psalms 69:25 and Psalms 109:8). Peter stood up among the brethren (about a hundred and twenty people, including the Apostles, the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and the other brethren) to chose a successor to Judas. From all of these people only two were identified as meeting the requirements. Barry states, "the scripture never says that these were to be general requirements for all future Apostles - only that these were the guidelines they chose to use when selecting a replacement for Judas." To this I would reply that the scripture never says that there will be future Apostles, either! What scripture does tell us is that the main purpose of being numbered as one of the twelve was to be a witness of Jesus' resurrection from the dead. Successors of the Apostles who were entrusted with the authority to teach were very careful not to add or remove anything from what they had received. Some of these things were written down but most of it was oral Tradition in the early years of Christianity. It was not until 393 and 397 A.D. that the Canon of Scripture was compiled by the Catholic Councils of Hippo and Carthage. The early Church preserved the distinction between apostles and bishops, noting that the apostles could have no successors with the exception of Judas. I would also like to point out that "they" (the Apostles) did not chose these guidelines, it was Peter as their leader who took the initiative to name a successor to Judas based on Old Testament Scripture.

In the early Church, the apostles are called bishops but the bishops are never called apostles. Catholic bishops are not new or recycled apostles. They are men who have received the fullness of the Sacrament of Holy Orders, members of the episcopal college, and successors of the Apostles. "In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them 'their own position of teaching authority' ". Indeed, "The apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time." (CCC 77) The early Church carefully preserved the distinction between apostles and bishops. To their unique foundational roles, the apostles could have no successors. Their extraordinary charisms of apostleship were not transmissible. 1

In his opening statement Barry speaks of the suggestion by some that "the apostles were just twelve men whom Christ ordained for a specific mission - and were thus no longer needed after the Church was established in the world." I have demonstrated from scripture that this suggestion is correct. They are the foundation stones upon which the church was built, with Jesus Christ Himself being the cornerstone. (Ephesians 2:20) As with any building, there can only be one foundation and one cornerstone. Everything else is built upon the foundation. We cannot call the bricks of the walls the "foundation", nor can we call the windows and doors the cornerstone.

He Chose Twelve - and Paul 2

But what about Paul? Wasn't he an apostle too? Saint Luke, the companion of Saint Paul on his second journey and his loyal aide, refers to both Paul and Barnabas as "apostles". (Acts 14:14) Luke tells us that while they were worshipping the Lord and fasting in the church at Antioch, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." (Acts 13:2) So now we have the Twelve Apostles, Paul, and Barnabas - that's fourteen apostles. Did Paul and Barnabas count themselves as one of the Twelve? In 1 Corinthians Chapter 15 Paul makes the distinction between the Twelve and other "apostles" such as himself. Paul tells us that after Christ died and was raised on the third day, He first appeared to Cephas (Peter), then to the Twelve, then to more than 500 brethren, then to James, then to all of the apostles (not just the twelve), and last of all to Paul. Paul says that he is the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because he persecuted the church of God. (1 Corinthians 15:3-9) So here we clearly see that Paul and the early church made a distinction between the twelve and other apostles (or eye witnesses of Christ's resurrection). As I mentioned in my opening statement, the word "apostle" comes from the Greek apostolos, which means one sent off or commissioned. Paul considered himself as commissioned by the Holy Spirit and sent off on a mission to preach the Gospel by the church at Antioch, therefore he called himself an apostle but not one of the Twelve Apostles. Their role within the church was unique and not transmissible.

The Gospels tell us that the Twelve Apostles were literally ordained by Jesus Christ Himself (Matthew 10:1-2, Mark 3:14, Luke 6:13, John 6:70) and that Matthias was "enrolled" with the eleven, most likely a reference to the laying on of hands. There is no such literal ordination for Paul or any other apostle mentioned anywhere else in the New Testament. In Galatians Paul greets the churches of Galatia by calling himself an apostle - "Not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father". (Galatians 1:1) Therefore Paul was not enrolled as an apostle by the other Apostles, but he was called by Christ Himself.

Barry mentions that apparently Jesus' brother James had become an apostle and that Polycrates reported the tradition that Philip had become "one of the twelve apostles." James and Philip are both listed in all of the New Testament lists of the Twelve Apostles, so Barry must think these are different people from the ones listed. First, it is important to note that when the Bible speaks of the brothers of Jesus, it does not mean Mary and Joseph had other children. The Jews regarded cousins as brothers and sisters. In fact they did not have a separate word for "cousin" as we do. The brethren referred to here were Jesus' cousins, James and Judas of Alphaeus, the brother of St. Joseph (see Matthew 13:55 and Matthew 27:56). Most commentators think that "James the Lord's brother" is most likely James the Less (Mark 15:40), also called the son of Alphaeus (Luke 6:15) and author of the letter which bears his name. 3 The author to the Epistle of Saint James introduces himself simply as "James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ". (James 1:1) According to the Navarre Bible Commentaries it is fairly clear that the Epistle of Saint James was written by James, "the Lord's brother" and bishop of Jerusalem, who was probably the same person as the James, son of Alphaeus, listed in the Gospel as an Apostle. 4 (Matthew 10:3 and Mark 3:18)

Paul did not state that the FULL Church organization must always include (Twelve) Apostles, prophets, etc. as Barry would have us believe. (Ephesians 4:11-14) Here Paul is referring to certain ministries or offices in the Church which are performed not only in a charismatic way, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, but as an assignment or ministry entrusted to the particular individual by the glorified Lord. 5 These charismatic gifts are given by Jesus Christ, the head of His Mystical Body (the Church), to specific individuals within His Church in order to strengthen its unity and love. They are not necessarily gifts to be present in the Church at all times. In fact they cannot be present today because no one meets the criteria outlined in the New Testament to be one of the Twelve (must have accompanied Jesus during His life on earth and must be a witness to His resurrection from the dead).

The "Twelve Apostles" of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints certainly do not meet this Biblical criteria. Ephesians 4:11-14 also does not mention the two other titles, Seer and Revelator, used by the Mormons to describe their Prophet. Nor does the Bible say that the church should have a president and two counselors, also called presidents. These three are also called "Apostles", so in fact the LDS church has fifteen rather than twelve apostles. Furthermore, where do we find evidence in the Bible for a "First Quorum of the Seventy" and a "Second Quorum of the Seventy" (neither of which actually have seventy men in them)? It seems odd that the Mormons see no problem with adding offices to the church organization without any Biblical basis and yet insist that the offices listed in Ephesians must always be present. If these other offices are necessary for the Restored Gospel to be true, why weren't they there when Jesus Christ gave us the Gospel in the first place?

Barry concedes that there might have been some legitimate priesthood authority retained by the Catholic Church up to the Middle ages, but he wrongly concludes that it must have been taken away when some bad popes possibly violated fourth century Catholic canon law. Sin does not diminish the authority of the papacy nor does it sever apostolic succession. I must sadly admit that there have been Catholic bishops who have cut themselves off from the Church, and there have also been some less than admirable popes throughout the past 2,000 years. However, Jesus promised that the gates of hell would not prevail against His CHURCH. He also told us to "Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves." (Matthew 7:15) Elsewhere in Scripture we read that the CHURCH is the pillar and foundation of the truth (1 Timothy 3:15) and that the CHURCH will last until the end of time (Matthew 16:18). In the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians we are told that "unto Him be glory in the CHURCH by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end." How could the CHURCH glorify God "throughout all ages" if it were about to apostatize as Barry would have us believe? It makes no sense to think that an apostate church can give glory to God. Despite the weaknesses of men, God has kept his promise to protect His Church against error, especially TOTAL apostasy, until He comes again in glory to judge the living and the dead. The Church is more than the sum of her weakest parts.

In Acts Chapter 5 we read about a member of the Sanhedrin named Gamaliel who is speaking to the members of the council and all the senate of Israel as they were debating over what to do with the apostles after they had condemned the Jews for killing Jesus. The members of the council were enraged and wanted to kill the apostles. Gamaliel proclaims with rabbinic wisdom, "So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them." (Acts 5:34-39) If it is indeed God's work, the Church cannot be overthrown from without or within. If Gamaliel was correct, then the Mormon theory of the "Total Apostasy" would mean that this new Church was not established by God. Thus, according to Scripture, to suggest that the Church failed is to deny that it was established by God through His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ. Certainly Barry does not mean to suggest this.

In the Gospel of Saint Matthew we read about the two foundations. Jesus said, "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock", and "everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand." (Matthew 7:24-27) This is an important passage demonstrating that when Christ builds His Church, it will last because it will be built upon rock. If the Church Christ founded washed away in total apostasy then logically Christ is the fool in this passage who builds His Church on sand. Which foundation did Jesus use to establish His Church? (Matthew 16:18) If we believe Jesus to be a "wise man" and not a "fool", then we must also believe that He built His "house" on rock and not sand.

Anachronistic Interpretation?

Barry accuses me of being anachronistic (representing something as existing or occurring at other than its proper time) in my assertion that public revelation ceased at the death of John the Beloved, the last Apostle. In Deuteronomy 12:32 God commanded that the Israelites not "add anything to it, nor take anything away from it". I agree with Barry that when He said these things through Moses He was speaking in the context of the Mosaic Law. As I said before, Jewish tradition distinguishes between the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings of the Old Testament. (Luke 24:44 and CCC 702) But certainly this commandment from God did not preclude the Holy Spirit from speaking through the prophets at a later date. The Catholic Church considers "prophets" to be all whom the Holy Spirit inspired in the composition of the Sacred Books, both of the Old and the New Testaments. The primary purpose of these prophetic writings was to prepare the world for the "fullness of time" when God would send the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ. (Galatians 4:4) Jesus fulfilled the messianic hope of Israel in his threefold office of priest, prophet, and king. After His mission was completed on earth through revelation of the Gospel to His chosen Apostles there was no longer a need for public revelation. All that the prophets had foretold had been fulfilled.

Doctrine of LDS Apostles

When did the LDS doctrine of "prophet" and "apostle" as an ordained office first appear? Barry has made reference to the LDS prophets and apostles as being members of the restored church of Jesus Christ returned to earth by heavenly messengers. It is interesting to take a close look at the early Mormon church hierarchy to see what role prophets and apostles played in the newly restored organization. According to former LDS historian and author D. Michael Quinn, the term "apostle" as an ordained office and presiding quorum did not exist until 1835. Prior to that time, from 1829 to 1835, Joseph Smith was seen as one prophet among potentially many and the "apostles" consisted of anyone who received their callings charismatically (through vision) rather than institutionally (through ordination to office). By the end of 1830 the designation of apostle (without ordination) also included an evangelical call to missionary service. Mormon missionaries were called "apostles" as late as the end of 1832. David Whitmer, one of the Book of Mormon's Three Witnesses, considered himself one of these non-ordained apostles because of the vision he had received along with Joseph Smith. He later stated, "During 1829, several times we were told by Brother Joseph that an elder (not apostle) was the highest office in the church." It was not until 1835 that the calling of apostle became an ordained office in Mormonism. This first "quorum" of twelve did not include any of the Book of Mormon witnesses. 6 Why did it take six years from the time the LDS church was first organized until the Mormon hierarchy included the Twelve Apostles as an ordained office and presiding quorum? It would seem that such an important part of the church's foundation would be the first matter of business for these "angelic messengers" to perform in their restoration efforts. Certainly that was the way Christ established His Church according to the Biblical accounts. The Book of Mormon also tells us that it was one of the first things that Jesus did in the New World when He called and commissioned (ordained) Twelve Nephites to be His disciples. (3 Nephi 12:1)

The Shepherd of Hermas

Since Barry has once again brought up the writings of Hermas, I would like to address them in more detail. According to William A. Jurgens these rather lengthy works belong to the category of apocryphal apocalypses. Jurgens goes on to say that the work of Hermas is "obviously much fictionalized, or at any rate, of the apocalyptic and visionary genre". Eusebius Pamphilus listed The Shepherd among the "spurious" writings rather than the recognized books of Scripture. 7 Note that this list was compiled by Eusebius in his History of the Church some 61 to 97 years prior to the official canon of the New Testament being promulgated by the Catholic Councils of Hippo (A.D. 393) and Carthage (A.D. 397).

Barry stated in his response, "But it never occurred to anyone to close the canon until nearly the third century!" He goes on to say, "the very existence of a document such as the Shepherd of Hermas shows that the possibility of a new word of revelation was nothing to be wondered at." It was exactly because of the existence of "spurious" documents such as the Shepherd of Hermas and others which were confusing the faithful that it was necessary for the Church to infallibly determine the canon of scripture. The Church, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, settled and declared the inspired books of the New Testament as well as the Old Testament. The Old Testament used by the earliest Christians, as well as Jesus Himself, is known as the Alexandrian Canon (Septuagent). It included the Deuterocanonicals (Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, 1 and 2 Maccabees). The King James Version of the Protestant Bible used by the LDS church has intentionally removed some of the original books of the Canon of Scripture by excluding the Deuterocanonicals. In the earliest days of the Church the Septuagent version of the Old Testament continued to be used by Jewish Christians while those who rejected Christ also rejected the Deuterocanonicals. The Catholic Canon of Scripture has always contained the Deuterocanonicals and the original King James Version of the Bible included them as well. When and why they were removed is another story in the sad episode of the Protestant Reformation when Christians separated themselves from Holy Mother Church.

Barry would have us believe that the key to interpreting Hermas' purpose is contained in the first section of his work, the Visions. Here the Church was represented as a tower being built of stone, the stones representing individual Christians. Hermas related:

    And I began to ask her about the times, if the end were yet. But she cried out with a loud voice saying, "Foolish man, do you not see the tower still being built? Whenever therefore the building of the tower has been finished, the end comes. But it will quickly be built up; ask me nothing more." 8
Barry concludes that the impending completion of the tower was given as the reason for the urgent call to one more chance for repentance. When asked what was represented by some stones which had been cast away by the builders but left on the ground near the tower, the angel explained that these were Christians who had sinned, but could still become part of the tower if they repented immediately. "For if the building be finished, there will not be more room for any one, but he will be rejected. This privilege, however, will belong only to him who has now been placed near the tower."

I agree with Barry that the tower is indeed the church, as the woman says. However, if you read it carefully you will see that the completion of the tower does not occur until the end of time! The message from Hermas is that those who hold off repentance until the end will be rejected - it will be too late. If, as Barry asserts, this is a reference to a looming total apostasy, then he faces two huge problems:

First, a tower successfully completed is not a suitable metaphor for an apostasy. If the tower being built were to "apostatize", it would be described as falling into disarray or corruption. This is not the case! According to the writings of Hermas it is being built of solid stone, unified and complete:

    "Hear now with regard to the stones which are in the building. Those square white stones which fitted exactly into each other, are apostles, bishops, teachers, and deacons, who have lived in godly purity, and have acted as bishops and teachers and deacons chastely and reverently to the elect of God. Some of them have fallen asleep, and some still remain alive. And they have always agreed with each other, and been at peace among themselves, and listened to each other. On account of this, they join exactly into the building of the tower." "But who are the stones that were dragged from the depths, and which were laid into the building and fitted in with the rest of the stones previously placed in the tower?" "They are those who suffered for the Lord's sake." "But I wish to know, O Lady, who are the other stones which were carried from the land." "Those," she said, "which go into the building without being polished, are those whom God has approved of, for they walked in the straight ways of the Lord and practiced His commandments." "But who are those who are in the act of being brought and placed in the building?" "They are those who are young in faith and are faithful. But they are admonished by the angels to do good, for no iniquity has been found in them."
Notice that everything in the tower is pure and uncorrupted, whereas the weak elements are thrown away. It seems that the tower of Hermas is not the image of a soon-to-crumble church as Barry would have us believe.

The second problem with seeing the completion of the tower as the prelude to apostasy is the actions of the builders when they have completed it:

    "The building of the tower will be finished, and all will rejoice together around the tower, and they will glorify God, because the tower is finished."
If the completion of the tower were to be followed by immediate and total destruction, it would not be a time for rejoicing. We can clearly see that even these questionable texts cannot be forced to fit the LDS theory of a total apostasy in the early Christian Church. According to Hermas, the "completion" of the church will occur at the glorious end of the age, when there will be rejoicing and victory, not total apostasy and subsequent loss of the Gospel in a fledgling church.

Additionally, the woman who interprets the vision is also representative of the church, as the text states repeatedly. She appears in the first four visions. It's interesting that in vision one, she's an old, weak woman. Vision two shows her younger and stronger. Vision three, younger and stronger still. In vision four she is a bridal virgin, full of life and vigor. If she is the church, and if the church were about to apostatize, the order would be reversed. She would start out as a bridal virgin and end as an old, weak woman crumbling to the ground.

Barry insists on twisting the visions of Hermas to supposedly be a prophecy that the wicked world was to continue, but not the church. This is not the case! Over and over again the woman in the visions tells Hermas that the completion of the tower (the church) would come at the end of the world. A careful look at the fourth vision (http://newadvent.org/fathers/0201104.htm) clearly shows that the foundational theme of the visions is purely eschatological (from the Greek word eschaton, meaning "last"). In this fourth vision we see the woman (the church) appear after Hermas has passed by the beast of the tribulation. He is told to go back and tell the elect of the Lord that they too can escape the tribulation of the beast if they prepare themselves, repent, and turn to the Lord. There is absolutely nothing in the text that would suggest that the "inferior place" will replace or succeed the tower. Rather, they are spoken of as existing simultaneously. Most likely the "inferior place" is the process of penance that sinners would have to undergo before their eventual re-admittance into the church. This fits well with the context, which mentions the sinners suffering and being purified, and finally being "transferred." The overall theme of the Shepherd of Hermas is a call to repentance and living a righteous life in the church (tower). These writings were important to early Christians because of the ethical concepts they contained and their relationship to the Sacrament of Penance.

Clement of Rome

Mr. Bickmore has once again challenged my assertion that Clement of Rome [ca. A.D. 80 (92-101?)] was speaking with apostolic authority as the Bishop of Rome when he wrote his letter from "The Church of God which sojourns in Rome to the Church of God which sojourns in Corinth". Barry tries to put the writing of Clement and Hermas on the same level and in fact claims in a previous statement that Hermas actually wrote his "Visions" at the time of Clement. Jurgens writes in his introduction to Clement's letter that "The traditional dates of Clement's pontificate, A.D. 92 to A.D. 101, are unworthy of credence. Believing that there is good evidence for dating his sole extant authentic writing ca. A.D. 80, a work clearly written while he was Bishop of Rome, the present author dates Clement's pontificate accordingly." In his introduction to The Shepherd of Hermas, Jurgens dates this writing at ca. A.D. 140/155. 9 This means there was approximately 40 to 75 years separation between the writings of Clement and Hermas. According to the dates established by Jurgens, they were not contemporaries by any stretch of the imagination.

Dr. Warren H. Carroll, Professor of History at Christendom College, states that Clement's letter "is the most striking of all the historical proof of the general acceptance by Christians, from the beginning of the Church, of the Bishop of Rome as the successor of Peter and the head of the whole Church." 10 There is no doubt that Clement spoke with authority as the Bishop of Rome when he wrote his Letter to the Corinthians.

Dispensations - a Gospel for All Ages?

Barry states that "Whenever the Gospel has been preached, however, and the priesthood given, sooner or later apostasy occurred and the authority and truth of God was removed." What proof does he offer to back up this claim? First he cites a number of LDS references. Naturally these materials support the LDS theory of a total apostasy. I would suggest that these are not the most objective resources available on the subject. Next he uses the writings of the Early Church Fathers in an attempt to justify Joseph Smith's new concepts and doctrine. Do the Early Church Fathers agree with the Book of Mormon or was the Book of Mormon written in such a way as to appear to agree with the Bible and the Early Church Fathers? The purpose of this debate is to determine whether or not a TOTAL apostasy in the early Christian church actually occurred. The validity and accuracy of the Book of Mormon as a historical document (See statements by the Smithsonian and National Geographic) or as the inspired Word of God (the canon of Scripture was closed at the Catholic Councils of Hippo and Carthage) is not at issue here. If it were, I would argue that this spurious document should not be relied upon as "Another Testament of Jesus Christ", for it is based solely upon the private revelations allegedly received by Joseph Smith and his "witnesses".

At any rate, Barry has not adequately demonstrated that there was ever a time of a TOTAL apostasy of God's chosen people against His Word or against His Church. From the time of Adam and Eve through Noah, Abraham, Moses, the Kings and Prophets, all the way up until the time of the promised Messiah there has always been at least a remnant of God's true people. None of the cases cited by Barry (Amos 8:11-12, Acts 20:29-30, 2 Timothy 4:3-5, 2 Timothy 1:15, 2 Peter 2:1-2, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4, 2 Thessalonians 2:7, Galatians 1:6-8, Jude 1:3-4, Jude 1:17-18, 3 John 9-10) indicate conclusively that there was a TOTAL falling away from the Gospel after it was preached by Jesus Christ to the Apostles and disciples. Let's look at each one of these citations, taken from the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, to see if there are any indications of a TOTAL apostasy.

Amos 8:11-12- "Behold, the days are coming," says the Lord GOD, "when I will send a famine on the land; not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD. They shall wander from sea to sea, and from north to east; they shall run to and fro, to seek the word of the LORD, but they shall not find it.

Here Amos is explaining to the people that because they have not heeded the word of the Lord they will be delivered into the hands of the Assyrians. This whole passage refers to the immediate future. The "word of the Lord" that they seek is comfort in the midst of their afflictions, and Amos tells them that they will not find it. In the following two verses Amos says, "In that day the fair virgins and the young men shall faint for thirst. Those who swear by Ash'imah of Sama'ria, and say, 'As thy god lives, O Dan,' and, 'As the way of Beer-sheba lives,' they shall fall, and never rise again." (Amos 8:13-14) Ash'imah of Sama'ria was the golden calf worshipped in the ancient city of Samaria. These verses were intended as a prophecy for the situation in the day of Amos, not for the days after Christ. 11

Acts 20:29-30- I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after them.

The fact is that all churches have dissidents from within their own membership, including the LDS church. Individual apostasy does not necessarily mean that the entire church is in TOTAL apostasy.

2 Timothy 4:3-5- For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. As for you, always be steady, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry.

When we read this passage in the context of 2 Timothy 3:1-5 and 1 Timothy 4:1-4 we can see that this refers to the last days before the Second Coming of Christ, not to the immediate days following the death of the last Apostle. These citations do not indicate that it will be a TOTAL apostasy, only that some people will wander into myths. In fact, Paul is encouraging those who actually listen to the truth to be steadfast in their work and endure the suffering which apostasy invariably inflicts on the faithful. 12

2 Timothy 1:15- You are aware that all who are in Asia turned away from me, and among them Phy'gelus and Hermog'enes.

Barry would have us believe that "Asia Minor was exactly where many, if not most, of the Christian converts lived". However, according to Isaiah Bennett the "Asia" mentioned in the New Testament refers to a small Roman province (Asia Minor or Anatolia) at the western tip of what is now Turkey. It did not indicate the continent of Asia that we speak of today, so the scale of this localized apostasy is not nearly as large as the Mormon argument would suggest in modern language. 13

2 Peter 2:1-2- But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their licentiousness, and because of them the way of truth will be reviled.

This passage simply tells us that as there have been false prophets in Israel so there will also be false teachers among the Christian Church. "And many will follow" does not mean that ALL will follow, simply that MANY will follow these false teachers. No TOTAL apostasy here! 14

2 Thessalonians 2:1-4- Now concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our assembling to meet him, we beg you, brethren, not to be quickly shaken in mind or excited, either by spirit or by word, or by letter purporting to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come. Let no one deceive you in any way; for that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

Paul warns the Thessalonians that the Second Coming of Christ is NOT at hand, even if they receive a letter purporting to be from one of the Apostles. Barry claims that this "falling away" {Gr. Apostasia} indicates that the apostasy would soon overrun the Church. However, Paul does not say that it will be a COMPLETE or TOTAL falling away from the church. What he does say is that the son of perdition will be revealed at the same time as the "falling away". If the apostasy took place after the death of the last Apostle as the LDS suggest, then when was the "son of perdition" revealed and who was he? Also there is no indication that a restoration of the Gospel would be interjected between the apostasy and the revelation of the son of perdition and the Second Coming of Christ. 15

2 Thessalonians 2:7-8- For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way. And then the lawless one will be revealed, and the Lord Jesus will slay him with the breath of his mouth and destroy him by his appearing and his coming.

Barry claims that Paul intimated with this verse that the apostasy was already underway. However, it seems more likely that there will be SOME lawlessness at work but the lawless one will be restrained and will not be revealed until the Second Coming. 16

Galatians 1:6-8- I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel-- not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.

Here is another passage in which Barry implies that the apostasy was already underway. The "other gospel" that Paul is speaking of here is coming from "Judaizers", Hebrews who had become Christian but continued to assert that one must be circumcised and keep the Mosaic Law in order to be saved. In the context of this passage it is interesting to note that an "angel from heaven" (the angel Moroni) allegedly brought the Book of Mormon ("Another Testament of Jesus Christ") to Joseph Smith. 17

Jude 3-4- Beloved, being very eager to write to you of our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints. For admission has been secretly gained by some who long ago were designated for this condemnation, ungodly persons who pervert the grace of our God into licentiousness and deny our only Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.

Barry uses this verse to indicate that Jude wrote this epistle to combat the many false teachers who had crept into the Church. These are warnings against SOME who have fallen into apostasy. Jude does not predict that there will be a TOTAL apostasy, neither does he say that the faith will be lost and that it will need to be re-delivered in a later dispensation. Quite to the contrary, he says that the faith has been delivered once for all to the saints. 18

Jude 17-18- But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, "In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions."

This verse is a parallel passage to 2 Peter 3:3. Barry would like us to believe that the predictions of the apostles mentioned in these two passages points to an impending TOTAL apostasy. The prophecy of a total rejection of the promise of Christ's Second Coming by certain "scoffers" was not something that happened to the entire church after the death of the last apostle. Historic Christianity simply cannot be accused of completely rejecting the promise of the Second Coming. Again, no indication of a TOTAL apostasy. 19

3 John 9-10- I have written something to the church; but Diot'rephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge my authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, prating against me with evil words. And not content with that, he refuses himself to welcome the brethren, and also stops those who want to welcome them and puts them out of the church.

Obviously, Diot'rephes has a bad attitude toward the church, but that certainly doesn't indicate a TOTAL apostasy of the entire church. In fact, in the previous verses (3 John 1-8) John addresses his letter to Ga'ius and commends him for his hospitality and encourages his future help.

Once again I must reaffirm that in all of salvation history there has never been a TOTAL apostasy OF the church, only apostasy FROM the church by individual members.

In Ephesians 1:10 (KJV), Paul speaks of the "dispensation of the fullness of times" when God "has made known to us in all wisdom and insight the mystery of His will, according to his purpose which He set forth in Christ" [Ephesians 1:9 (RSV)]. God revealed the fullness of his Gospel through His Only Begotten Son, Jesus Christ. Paul tells us in Galatians 4:4 that "when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman" to redeem us. The Gospel was revealed in its fullness with the arrival of Jesus Christ at the "dispensation of the fullness of times". All else prior to that is merely a preparation for the coming of the Messiah and all after that is in response to the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ.

Predictions of a Restoration?

Barry speculates that the statement "until the times of restitution of all things" (Acts 3:20-21) is an oblique reference to the fact that the Gospel must be restored in preparation for the Second Coming of Christ. He cites 1 Peter 4:7 as a clue that "the end of all things is at hand", and 1 Peter 4:12,17 where he warned that the "fiery trial" which was coming to them for "judgment must begin at the house of God". Barry then uses 2 Peter 1:3 in an attempt to show that the "all things" of Acts 3:20-21 and 1 Peter 4:7 was the Gospel spoken of in 2 Peter 1:3. 2 Peter 3:8 is thrown in for good measure to show that Peter had no false expectations that the Second Coming was imminent. Therefore, according to Barry, these verses indicate that the "end of all things" means the loss of the pure Gospel message through apostasy and a "restitution of all things" must be the restoration of the Gospel. But is that really what Peter says here? Let's take a closer look.

Acts 3:20-21- and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.

Just prior to this passage Peter speaks to the crowd of people following him after he healed the lame man at the gate of the temple. Peter tells them how they "killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead." (Acts 3:15) He goes on to say that they and their rulers acted in ignorance so that what God had foretold through the prophets should be fulfilled. He tells them to repent and turn again so that their sins may be forgiven and they may be refreshed by the presence of the Lord. Viewed in the proper context, Acts 3:20-21 is obviously a reference to the Second Coming of Christ. The establishment of "all (things) that God spoke of through the prophets" will not happen until that time.

1 Peter 4:7- The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers.

The Navarre Bible Commentary concerning 1 Peter 4:7-11 states, "The end of all things is at hand": the incarnation of Jesus Christ marked the beginning of the last days, a period which extends to the end of the world and the Last Judgment. That is why the last stage of the world "is at hand", or as some translate it, "has arrived". Because the End is imminent, St. Peter urges them to practice prayer and charity, Christ's "new commandment", and also hospitality, which was highly valued among the Semites and encouraged among Christians. 20 Hence, the "end of all things is at hand" applies then as well as today in the Church. It is all one age before the second coming of Jesus.

1 Peter 4:12,17- Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you. ....For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Here Peter is speaking about the trials Christians must suffer as followers of Christ. He tells them persecution should not surprise or shame them; rather it should make them happy and lead them to glorify God, for when they share in Christ's suffering they will also share in his exaltation. He encourages them to obey the Gospel now so that they will be prepared for the final judgement at the Second Coming. 21

2 Peter 1:3- His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,

Peter most likely speaks on behalf of the Apostles in his second letter to the Christian community. The phrase "His divine power" usually refers to a calling attributed to God the Father. By emphasizing here that it is Jesus Christ who calls "by his own glory and excellence", the author is clearly acknowledging Jesus as God. God the Father has granted the Apostles all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Jesus Christ. 22

2 Peter 3:8- But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

This passage from verse 4 of Psalm 90 was often cited by Jewish rabbis in their calculations about how long the messianic times would last and when the end of the world would be; later on, millenarists would use it as a basis for their far-fetched theories about Christ and his saints bearing temporal rule for a thousand years over an earthly kingdom prior to the End. The author of the letter cites the Psalm as an authority for the view that time is a function of Creation and has no connection with the eternity of God; the fact that the Parousia (Second Coming) has not happened is no reason to deny that it will happen.

After taking a close look at each of these verses, we find no indication of an impending TOTAL apostasy and a subsequent need for restoration of the Gospel prior to the Second Coming of Christ, as Barry would have us believe. All of these passages indicate that we are already in the "end times" and the Parousia "is at hand". The overarching theme of them all is that we should repent and prepare for the Second Coming of Christ and the last judgement at all times in our lives. Particular judgement will happen at the moment of our death (Hebrews 9:27) and the final (general) judgement (Matthew 25:31-46) will happen in God's own time (Mark 13:32).

In his last statement Barry cited Matthew 17:3-13 to show that Elias (Hebrew Elijah) must first come and restore all things before the Second Coming. He then refers us to Luke 1:17 and draws the conclusion that ANYONE who is called of God to be a forerunner of the Kingdom, as John the Baptist was, acts in the "spirit and power of Elias". Then he mistakenly surmises that this must apply to other prophets as well as John because Jesus not only said that "Elias has come already," but also that "Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things." Did Jesus imply by these words that there would be a TOTAL apostasy and then a restoration prior to His Second Coming? Did He teach that ANYONE could become a prophet and forerunner of the Kingdom as long as they claim to act in the spirit of Elias? He certainly does not! Malachi 4:5 (3:23 in the Hebrew) speaks of the coming of Elijah the prophet before "the great and terrible day of the Lord", the Judgment Day. When Jesus says that "Elijah has already come", he refers to St. John the Baptist, who prepared the way for the first coming of the Lord, just as Elijah will prepare the way prior to His last coming. 23

Barry goes on to cite Revelation 14:6 as yet another prediction of the restoration. However, if we continue reading to the next verse (Revelation 14:7) we can see that the angel will proclaim the everlasting gospel when "the hour of his judgment has come". This clearly indicates that the angel will not appear until the Second Coming. It does not claim that the angel will restore a lost gospel, merely that the everlasting gospel will be proclaimed at the time of the Parousia, just like it was at the First Coming of Christ. Origen's teaching that this "new and everlasting gospel" would somehow represent an expansion of the previously revealed gospel was rightly condemned by the Ancient Church as was noted by Barry in his summary from Jerome.

The Restoration of Ancient Christian Doctrines?

Barry indicated in his last statement that the thesis for this section is that Latter-day Saint doctrines can be found within ancient Jewish Christianity, while the corresponding Catholic doctrines can be shown to have been Hellenized. Here he wishes to portray that somehow the Hebrew version of Christianity was lost to the world and replaced by a totally different Greek version. Does history support his theory? I suggest that the Greek influence on the Jews was set in place hundreds of years before the coming of Christ and the establishment of the Catholic Church. In the last two centuries B.C. there were so many Jews in Egypt, especially in Alexandria, that they made up about two-fifths of the population. Greek was the common language in Alexandria at the time. These Alexandrian Jews were so well established in Egypt that Ptolemy II Philadelphus, King of Egypt (287-47 BC) was persuaded to enrich his valuable library at Alexandria with a copy of the sacred books of the Jews. Eleazar, the Jewish high-priest in Jerusalem, provided the king with a richly ornamented copy of the Law and seventy-two Israelites, six from each tribe, capable of translating it into Greek for the non-Hebrew speaking Jews. This translation of the Old Testament was called the Septuagint (from the Greek word for seventy, the approximate number of translators). It was first accepted by the Jews in Alexandria and later by Jews in all the Greek-speaking countries. Jesus, the Apostles, and the Evangelists all used the Septuagint version of the Law in their citations from Scripture. (see http://newadvent.org/cathen/13722a.htm) Before taking issue with the Hellenization of the Catholic Church, we must recognize the natural Hellenization of the Jews prior to Christ. This Hellenistic approach to understanding God and the messianic prophesies forms part of God's plan. Greek language, sciences, history and philosophy were major cultural influences in the world during the Apostolic Age. It is not surprising that the Church devoted considerable attention to evangelizing Hellenistic Jews and Gentiles while at the same time borrowing ideas from the Greeks for her own development. This is an early example of the wonderful universality and adaptability of the Catholic Church.

According to Barry, "We don't necessarily expect to find all of our doctrines there, since very few Jewish Christian documents have survived." (At least no documents which support some of the LDS doctrines!) He seems to believe that because the Catholic Church quotes the writings of the "more Hellenized" Early Church Fathers this makes her somehow less authentic in her Christian doctrines than the Mormon church. No doubt, Barry finds it irksome that the Catholic Church can quote existing documents to support her authority and the Mormon church cannot. According to Barry we should accept these newly restored doctrines of the LDS faith as authentic Jewish Christian teachings based solely on the testimony of Joseph Smith and not on the historical evidence to the contrary. Barry further states, "Joseph Smith claimed to reveal some points that had never before been revealed." By Barry's own admission the LDS church teaches things that are not a part of the Good News of Jesus Christ as contained in the Bible. He claims we must also accept new Gospel messages, again based solely on the claims of Joseph Smith. And where did Joseph Smith get these new "points" of the Gospel? From a heavenly messenger! I suggest that this is the "different Gospel" against which Paul warned the Galatians when he said, "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed." (Galatians 1:6-8)

As a side note, the LDS church recently added a new subtitle to the Book of Mormon at the beginning of the book. It reads: The Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ. Isaiah Bennett suggests a more accurate title of: The Book of Mormon - A Testament of Another Jesus Christ.

Creatio Ex Nihilo?

Creation out of nothing? To the scientific mind it seems out of the question that something could come from nothing. But to the Judeo/Christian believer of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God it makes perfect sense. How did God create Heaven and earth? God created Heaven and earth from nothing, by His word only; that is, by a single act of His all-powerful will. 24 Why did God create us? God made us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next. 25 Again, to the Judeo/Christian believers in God, this makes sense and fits perfectly with God's revealed Word, the Bible. The strictly scientific mind does not easily accept a spiritual answer such as the one outlined above. Science, by its very nature, always starts with things already in existence. Explaining the origin of those things means looking for some earlier thing of the same created order. 26

Joseph Smith said about the meaning of the word create:

    You ask the learned doctors why they say the world was made out of nothing, and they will answer, "Doesn't the Bible say He created the world?" And they infer, from the word create, that it must have been made out of nothing. Now, the word create came from the word baurau, which does not mean to create out of nothing; it means to organize; the same as a man would organize materials and build a ship. Hence we infer that God had materials to organize the world out of chaos -- chaotic matter, which is element, and in which dwells all the glory. Element had an existence from the time He had. The pure principles of element are principles which can never be destroyed; they may be organized and reorganized, but not destroyed. They had no beginning and can have no end. 27
Strong's Number 1254 translates the English word create to the Hebrew word bara'. According to Strong's bara' means [absolutely] to create, not to organize as Joseph Smith seems to think. 28

Peter Kreeft and Ronald K. Tacelli, both professors of philosophy at Boston College, co-wrote an excellent book called "Handbook of Christian Apologetics". In it they say about creation:

When Jewish and Christian theologians first talked to Greek philosophers, the Greeks thought the biblical notion that God created the whole world ex nihilo ("out of nothing") was absurd and irrational, because it violated a law of nature that "out of nothing nothing comes" (ex nihilo nihil fit). The Judeo/Christian reply is:

    1. It is indeed a law of nature, but the laws of nature cannot be expected to bind the transcendent Creator of nature.

    2. The reason for this is that all of nature and all powers in nature are finite, but God is infinite; no finite power can produce the infinite change from nonbeing to being, but infinite power can.

    3. The idea of God creating out of nothing is not irrational because it does not claim that anything ever came into existence without an adequate cause. God did not come into existence, and nature did have an adequate cause: God.
(The question "If God made everything, who made God?" is like asking "Who made circles square?" It contains an inherent self-contradiction: that the uncreated Creator is a created creature. It extends the law about changing things - that every change needs a cause - beyond its limits, to the unchanging Source of change. God does not need a cause, or a maker, because He is not made or changed. He changes other things, but is not Himself changed by anything. There is nothing that comes to be in Him, nothing that needs a cause for its coming-into-being.) 29

Barry and other Mormon apologists are stuck with the dilemma of trying to explain how the statements of Joseph Smith concerning creation from existing intelligence and matter (science-centered thinking) can be reconciled with theology (God-centered thinking) and philosophy (logic-centered thinking). Neither theology nor philosophy has a problem with creation out of nothing when presented within the context of faith and reason. Using our intellect and reason it can be proven that there must exist a Being who is the Prime Mover, the First Efficient Cause, the Necessarily Existent, the Source of All Perfection and the Supreme Intelligence. This Being is called God. 30

Joseph Smith claims in the revelation given to him in May 1833 that, "Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be." (Doctrine and Covenants 93:29) Thus a Mormon must believe that we too exist eternally, along with God the Father. Yet the Bible very clearly tells us in both the Old and New Testaments that God created heaven and earth. This contrast between heaven and earth is a way of expressing totality by using two opposite terms, spiritual and material. So when we read, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Genesis 1:1) it means God created everything that was created. What did He create from? Joseph Smith would have us believe that God didn't "create" anything, He simply "reorganized" pre-existing intelligence and matter. Thus He is not All Powerful, He is just more powerful than we are right now.

According to the Mormon Plan of Eternal Progression, exaltation and GODHOOD may be achieved by anyone who lives in accordance with the Mormon teachings. Lorenzo Snow, the fifth President of the LDS church, claimed he received this revelation: "Now I will say what I received in vision, which was just as clear as the sun ever shone. The knowledge that was communicated to me I embraced in this couplet: As man now is, God once was. As God now is, man may be." 31 Did you catch that? God was once a man who worshipped His Father! That means our God is inferior to His Father because His Father reached perfection before our Father did. And God's Father had a Father, who must have gone through the same progression to reach exaltation even earlier. LDS President Joseph Fielding Smith said, "Our father in heaven, according to the Prophet, had a father, and since there has been a condition of this kind through all eternity, each Father had a Father". 32 According to Mormon doctrine God wasn't always what He is now, He has changed from a mere mortal man with limited knowledge to an exalted god, one of many. How many gods are there? Mormon Apostle Orson Pratt stated in a discourse given at Temple Block (Square) in Salt Lake City in 1855, "If we should take a million of worlds like this and number their particles, we should find that there are more Gods than there are particles of matter in those worlds." 33

Barry uses as one of his proof-texts a passage from Genesis 1:1-2 to claim that the creation account indicates creation from a watery chaos. He cites from the New English Bible, a translation, incidentally, not approved for use by either Mormons or Catholics, quoting, "In the beginning of creation... the earth was without form and void, with darkness over the face of the abyss, and a mighty wind that swept over the surface of the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2 NEB). The dots indicate text has been dropped from the quote. The entire quote from the NEB translation actually reads like this: "In the beginning of creation, when God made heaven and earth, the earth was without form and void, with darkness over the face of the abyss, and a mighty wind that swept over the surface of the waters." Notice how Barry has attempted a sleight-of-hand trick with his quotation! He removed the words "when God made heaven and earth" to give the illusion that the earth was created from watery chaos and not from nothing. Once again the contrast between heaven and earth is a way of expressing the totality of creation. After the earth was created God brought the watery chaos into order.

Rather than using the King James Version, the only version approved by the LDS church for use by its members, Barry inexplicably quotes from the New English Bible (NEB). The King James Version says, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2 KJV). The Word of God speaks clearly. "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." PERIOD! We find no indication of God's creation from a "watery chaos", or anything else for that matter (pun intended)!

Just to be fair, here are the same two verses from translations approved by the Catholic Church:

    "In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless wasteland, and darkness covered the abyss, while a mighty wind swept over the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2 NAB)

    "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2 RSVCE)

    "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. Now the earth was a formless void, there was darkness over the deep, and God's spirit hovered over the water." (Genesis 1:1-2 The Jerusalem Bible)

    "In the beginning God created heaven, and earth. And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters." (Genesis 1:1-2 Douay-Rheims Version)

Clearly none of these translations of Genesis 1:1-2 hints that God created the heaven(s) and the earth from pre-existing intelligence and eternal matter. Again, Barry turns to his New English Bible translation, this time to the Deuterocanonicals from the Septuagint version of the Old Testament, when he cites Wisdom of Solomon 11:17. Let's investigate Barry's claim. Does the Sacred writer really teach the Mormon doctrine that God created the heaven and the earth from existing matter? Since the King James Version of the Bible does not include the Deuterocanonicals we must look at a Catholic translation to compare it to the NEB.
    "For not without means was your almighty hand, that had fashioned the universe from formless matter, to send upon them a drove of bears or fierce lions," (Wisdom 11:17 NAB)

    "For thy all-powerful hand, which created the world out of formless matter, did not lack the means to send upon them a multitude of bears, or bold lions," (Wisdom 11:17 RSVCE)

    "And indeed your all-powerful hand did not lack means - the hand that from formless matter created the world - to unleash a horde of bears or savage lions on them" (Wisdom 11:17-18 The Jerusalem Bible)

    "For thy almighty hand, which made the world of matter without form, was not unable to send upon them a multitude of bears, or fierce lions," (Wisdom 11:18 Douay-Rheims Version)

Notice how all of these verses do not use both "heaven and earth" but only a single word, "world", or in the case of NAB, "universe". As I mentioned before, this inclusive use of the terms "heaven and earth" is a way of expressing the totality of creation by using two opposite terms. The fact that Wisdom uses only one word indicates that the Sacred writer refers not to the totality of creation, but only to one aspect of it. If God made the world of matter without form, we are still left with the question of who made the matter? A Catholic would answer that God made the matter when He created the heaven and the earth in it's totality.

Barry correctly cites 2 Maccabees 7:28 (another Deuterocanonical book from the Septuagint), and Romans 4:17, which both assert clearly that "God made [the sky and the earth] out of nothing..." (2 Maccabees 7:28 NEB), and that "God... summons things that are not yet in existence as if they already were." (Romans 4:17 NEB) These are excellent examples to reaffirm Genesis 1:1-2 which teaches that God created the heaven and the earth out of nothing. Also, 2 Maccabees was written around 124 B.C., so the idea of creation "ex nihilo" did not originate with the second-century Gnostic philosopher Basalides as Barry would have us believe. They may not have used the term "creatio ex nihilo" but both Paul and the author of 2 Maccabees understood the concept of creation out of nothing and taught it in their writings.

Let's continue with Barry's examples from 2 Peter 3:5 and Hebrews 11:3. The KJV reads "For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water:" (2 Peter 3:5 KJV) and "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear." (Hebrews 11:3) Again, we do not see the verbal joining of heaven and earth as one. In 2 Peter they are spoken of separately and in Paul's Epistle to the Hebrews he only speaks of the "worlds". There is no indication in either of these texts that God did not create the matter with which He created the heavens and the earth. In fact, I suggest that they fit perfectly with the other biblical accounts of "creatio ex nihilo". The two other sources Barry cites are from the second-century Pastor of Hermas and Philo the Jew who lived at the time of Christ. With these two authors he confusingly cites passages in support of both "creation from nothing" and "creation from chaos". Which presuppositions from these non-biblical sources are we to believe? The Word of God should be the obvious choice of every Bible-believing Christian: In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth ("ex nihilo", "out of nothing"). (CCC 290-292 and CCC 296-298)

"The Offspring of God"?

What does Paul mean when he quotes the Greek poets who say, "For we are indeed his offspring."? (Acts 17:28) Here Saint Paul speaks about the nearness of God and His mysterious but real presence in every man and woman. Saint Augustine echoes this teaching when he exclaims, "Yet all the time you were within me, more inward than the most inward place of my heart, and loftier than the highest". 34

If we back up to verse 22 in Acts 17 and read from that point forward (Acts 17:22-28), we see that Paul was speaking in the Areopagus to the men of Athens. The word "areopagus" can refer to either a hill where the Athenians used to meet or to a session of a tribunal or city council gathered together to listen to Paul's teaching. While speaking to the men in the Areopagus, Paul noted that the city of Athens was full of idols. He said that obviously they were very religious people because everywhere he passed he would see the objects of their worship. He mentioned one altar in particular that he had seen with the inscription, "To an unknown god." What Paul attempts here is to introduce them to the "unknown god" of their idols, the living and true "God who made the world and everything in it", the God of the Jews and the Christians. He says this true and living God is not far from us and that we should seek Him out, for 'In him we live and move and have our being'. At this point Paul quotes from the Greek poets when he says, "For we are indeed his offspring". Did he teach that we are literally the physical offspring of this "unknown god" or did he mean that the living God is within each one of us, unlike these impersonal stone gods? In verse 29 and beyond (Acts 17:29-34), Paul gets down to the point. If we are indeed offspring of this "unknown god" which he has just introduced, then we are in some way like him. We are not made of gold, or silver, or stone, or some other representation of art or imagination, but rather we have God's spirit within us and the men of Athens should recognize that God is spiritual rather than physical. This is not to say that material representations of God do not serve a useful purpose. Human knowledge begins with experience from the senses. Visual images help us to realize that God is present and they help us to adore him. Veneration of images is quite different from idolatry. An idolator thinks that God dwells in the idol, that he acts only through the idol, and in some cases he actually thinks that the idol is God. 35 So, we are the "offspring of God", not in a literal physical way, but in the sense of adopted sonship that Paul speaks of in his Epistle to the Romans, "For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him." (Romans 8:14-17) If we are led by the Spirit of God then we are sons and daughters of God. "Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him." (Romans 8:9)

"Men, who are incapable of existing of themselves," Saint Athanasius writes, "are to be found confined by place and dependent on the Word of God. But God exists of himself, he contains all things and is contained by none. He is to be found within everything as far as his goodness and power is concerned, and he is outside of everything as far as his own divine nature is concerned". 36

What do Mormons believe concerning the nature of God and our relationship with him? LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie writes:

    "Implicit in the Christian verity that all men are the spirit children of an Eternal Father is the usually unspoken truth that they are also the offspring of an Eternal Mother. An exalted and glorified Man of Holiness (Moses 6:57) could not be a Father unless a Woman of like glory, perfection, and holiness was associated with him as a Mother. The begetting of children makes a man a father and a woman a mother whether we are dealing with man in his mortal or immortal state. This doctrine that there is a Mother in Heaven was affirmed in plainness by the First Presidency of the Church (Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, and Anthon H. Lund) when, in speaking of pre-existence and the origin of man, they said that "man, as a spirit, was begotten and born of heavenly parents, and reared to maturity in the eternal mansions of the Father," that man is the "offspring of celestial parentage," and that "all men and women are in the similitude of the universal Father and Mother, and are literally the sons and daughters of Deity." (Man: Origin and Destiny, pp. 348-355.) 37
Who are our Eternal Father and Mother according to the Mormons? In a sermon delivered by LDS President Brigham Young in the Tabernacle at Salt Lake City on April 9, 1852, he said,
    "Now hear it, O inhabitants of the earth, Jew and Gentile, Saint and sinner! When our father Adam came into the garden of Eden, he came into it with a celestial body, and brought Eve, one of his wives, with him. He helped to make and organize this world. He is MICHAEL, the Archangel, the ANCIENT OF DAYS! about whom holy men have written and spoken -- HE is our FATHER and our GOD, and the only God with whom WE have to do. Every man upon the earth, professing Christians or non-professing, must hear it, and will know it sooner or later. They came here, organized the raw material, and arranged in their order the herbs of the field, the trees, the apple, the peach, the plum, the pear, and every other fruit that is desirable and good for man; the seed was brought from another sphere, and planted in this earth. The thistle, and thorn, the brier, and the obnoxious weed did not appear until after the earth was cursed. When Adam and Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit, their bodies became mortal from its effects, and therefore their offspring were mortal. When the Virgin Mary conceived the child Jesus, the Father had begotten him in his own likeness. He was not begotten by the Holy Ghost. And who is the Father? He is the first of the human family; and when he took a tabernacle, it was begotten by his Father in heaven, after the same manner as the tabernacles of Cain, Abel, and the rest of the sons and daughters of Adam and Eve; from the fruits of the earth, the first earthly tabernacles were originated by the Father, and so on in succession. I could tell you much more about this; but were I to tell you the whole truth, blasphemy would be nothing to it, in the estimation of the superstitious and over-righteous of mankind. However, I have told you the truth as far as I have gone. I have heard men preach upon the divinity of Christ, and exhaust all the wisdom they possessed. All Scripturalists, and approved theologians who were considered exemplary for piety and education, have undertaken to expound on this subject, in every age of the Christian era; and after they have done all, they are obliged to conclude by exclaiming "great is the mystery of godliness," and tell nothing. It is true that the earth was organized by three distinct characters, namely, Eloheim, Yahovah, and Michael, these three forming a quorum, as in all heavenly bodies, and in organizing element, perfectly represented in the Deity, as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 38
So there you have it straight from the Prophet's mouth. Adam was God and Eve was one of his celestial wives! We are not only the spiritual sons and daughters of God, but we are also His physical offspring according to the teachings of Brigham Young. Not only that, but Jesus Christ was begotten by this same Adam-God as Cain and Abel, "after the same manner", meaning that God had physical relations with Mary.

What about Jesus Christ and the Virgin Birth (Incarnation)? Brigham Young taught that, "The birth of the Saviour was as natural as are the births of our children; it was the result of natural action. He partook of flesh and blood - was begotten of his Father, as we were of our fathers." 39 Modern-day Mormons would have us believe that this was simply a private statement from Brigham Young and it does not reflect the current LDS doctrine on the Virgin Birth. However, LDS Apostle Bruce R. McConkie makes it clear in his 1979 publication Mormon Doctrine under the heading ONLY BEGOTTEN SON that, "These name-titles all signify that our Lord is the only Son of the Father in the flesh. Each of the words is to be understood literally. Only means only; Begotten means begotten; and Son means son. Christ was begotten by an Immortal Father in the same way that mortal men are begotten by mortal fathers." 40 ( In other words, Mary wasn't a virgin when she conceived the child in her womb by the "Father in the flesh". She conceived in the normal fashion through sexual relations with a celestial Being who, according to the "First Vision" account of Joseph Smith's encounter with God the Father, is a being with a physical body of flesh and bones. This is a flat contradiction of the mainstream Christian teaching of the Incarnation, that the eternal Son of God assumed a complete human nature and was born of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Luke 1:28-35)

According to Barry, Mormons believe that God is a perfect being with all knowledge and all power. However the LDS also believe that God is not "totally other", He wasn't always a perfect being, and He wasn't always God. The Father has a body in human shape which He obtained from His Father at the time of His own mortal existence on another planet. Joseph Smith gave a discourse before about twenty thousand Mormons at the April conference of the LDS Church in 1844. The occasion for this discourse was the funeral sermon for a deceased LDS Elder named King Follett. Joseph Smith said, "God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. If the veil were rent today, and the great God who holds this world in its orbit, and who upholds all worlds and all things by his power, was to make himself visible, -- I say, if you were to see him today, you would see him like a man in form -- like yourselves in all the person, image, and very form as a man; for Adam was created in the very fashion, image and likeness of God, and received instruction from, and walked, talked and conversed with him, as one man talks and communes with another." 41

Joseph Smith went on to say, "Here, then, is eternal life -- to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be Gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all Gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power. And I want you to know that God, in the last days, while certain individuals are proclaiming his name, is not trifling with you or me." 42

What does the current president of the LDS church have to say about the nature of God? During an interview with Don Lattin published in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 13th, 1997, President Gordon B. Hinckley was asked if Mormons believe that God was once a man. President Hinckley responded, "I wouldn't say that. There was a little couplet coined, "As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become." Now that's more of a couplet than anything else. That gets into some pretty deep theology that we don't know very much about." 43

In an interview with TIME, President Hinckley seemed intent on downplaying his faith's distinctiveness. The church's message, he explained, "is a message of Christ. Our church is Christ-centered. He's our leader. He's our head. His name is the name of our church." At first, Hinckley seemed to qualify the idea that men could become gods, suggesting that "it's of course an ideal. It's a hope for a wishful thing," but later affirmed that "yes, of course they can." (He added that women could too, "as companions to their husbands. They can't conceive a king without a queen.") On whether his church still holds that God the Father was once a man, he sounded uncertain, "I don't know that we teach it. I don't know that we emphasize it... I understand the philosophical background behind it, but I don't know a lot about it, and I don't think others know a lot about it." 44

It would appear that somewhere along the line between the specific teachings of Joseph Smith and Brigham Young and the current teachings of their successor, Gordon B. Hinckley, public acknowledgement of Mormon doctrines has changed. Where once there was no doubt in their statements that God was once a man and that man may become a god, there is now a reluctance to speak about it. Why? Could it be that the new image being developed by the Mormon spin-doctors is not compatible with their actual beliefs? I must admit that I admire Barry's courage for speaking the truth about what Mormons actually teach and believe. Many people are not willing to be so bold in these times of "political correctness" and "media savvy".

"God is Spirit"

"God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." (John 4:24) What did Jesus mean when He said these words? Did He use them to describe only God's actions and relationship with men as Barry would have us believe, or did He mean something more? Let's look at this verse in context. In Chapter 4 of the Gospel of St. John we read about how Jesus stopped at Jacob's well and spoke to the Samaritan woman. He asked her to give Him a drink of water. She said to Him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samaria?" Jesus answered, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." So she questions Jesus about how He is going to draw the water from the deep well when he has nothing to draw it with. She asks, "Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?" She tells Him that the Lord of Israel is to be worshiped on Mt. Gerizim according to the Samaritan custom rather than following the Jewish practice of worshiping God on Mt. Zion in Jerusalem. Thus, when Jesus tells the woman "God is spirit" He means that God is not limited in time and space to one location (either Mt. Gerizim or Mt. Zion) by a physical body. Because He is spirit (present everywhere and at all times) He should be worshiped in spirit (everywhere and at all times). (John 4:1-26)

In the Gospel of St. Luke the resurrected Christ explains the nature of a spirit by saying, "See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself; handle me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have." (Luke 24:39) Jesus is quite clear in stating that because of His incarnation He has a body but spirits do not. When He says in John 4:24 "God is spirit" (RSVCE) or "God is a Spirit" (KJV - notice the capitalization of Spirit which would indicate a title of divinity) He means that God the Father does not have a physical body which limits Him to being present in one place at a time.

The Catholic church teaches us about the nature of God:

    In no way is God in man's image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective "perfections" of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband. (CCC 370)
The Bible also teaches us the difference between God and man, and warns us about over-humanizing the Almighty:
    "God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should repent." (Numbers 3:19)

    "I am God and not man, the Holy One in your midst", (Hosea 11:9)

    "He (Christ) is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or authorities -- all things were created through him and for him." (Colossians 1:15-16)

    "To the King of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever." (1 Timothy 1:17)

The Early Church Fathers teach about the invisible God:

Aristides of Athens

    Let us proceed, then, O King, to the elements themselves, so that we may demonstrate concerning them that they are not gods, but corruptible and changeable things, produced out of the non-existent by Him that is truly God, who is incorruptible and unchangeable and invisible, but who sees all things and changes them and alters them as He wills. 45
Tatian the Syrian
    Our God has no introduction in time. He alone is without beginning, and is Himself the beginning of all things. God is a spirit, not attending upon matter, but the Maker of material spirits and of the appearances which are in matter. He is invisible and untouchable, being Himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things. This we know by the evidence of what He has created; and we perceive His invisible power by His works. 46
Athenagoras of Athens
    I have sufficiently demonstrated that we are not atheists, since we acknowledge one God, unbegotten, eternal, invisible, incapable of being acted upon, incomprehensible, unbounded; who is known only by understanding and reason; who is encompassed by light and beauty and spirit and indescribable power; by whom all things, through His Word, have been produced and set in order and are kept in existence. We recognize also the Son of God. Let no one think it laughable that God should have a Son. For we do not conceive of either God the Father or the Son as do the poets, who, in their myth-making, represent the gods as no better than men. The Son of God is the Word of the Father, in thought and in actuality. By Him and through Him all things were made, the Father and the Son being one. Since the Son is in the Father and the Father is in the Son by the unity and power of the Spirit, the Mind and Word of the Father is the Son of God.

    And if, in your exceedingly great wisdom, it occurs to you to inquire what is meant by 'the Son', I will tell you briefly: He is the First-begotten of the Father, not as having been produced, - for from the beginning God had the Word in Himself, God being eternal mind and eternally rational, - but as coming forth to be the model and energizing force of all material things, which were like a nature without attributes and a inert earth, in which the heavier parts lay mixed up with the lighter. The Prophetic Spirit also confirms this reasoning, when He says, "For the Lord made me the beginning of His ways for His works." (Proverbs 8:22) The Holy Spirit also, who works in those who speak prophetically, we regard as an effluence of God, flowing out and returning like a ray of the sun. Who, then, would not be astonished to hear those called atheists, who speak of God the Father and of God the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and who proclaim Their power in union and Their distinction in order? Nor is our theology confined to these; for we recognize also a multitude of angels and ministers whom God, the Creator and Designer of the world, by means of His Word, set in their places and gave into their charge the elements and the heavens and the world and what is in it, and the good order of all. 47

Tertullian
    We have already said that God fashioned the whole universe by His Word, His Reason and His Power. . . . And to the Word, the Reason and the Power through which, as we have said, God fashioned all things, we do indeed ascribe Spirit as its proper substance, in which Spirit the Word indwells to give utterance, and Reason is present in order to arrange, and Power presides for the sake of bringing to completion. We hold that this which was uttered by God, and which was begotten in that utterance, because of the unity of substance is called God and Son of God; for God too is Spirit. Even when a ray is shot forth from the sun it is a part of the whole; but the sun will be in the ray because it is a ray of the sun, not separated from its substance but extended therefrom, as light is enkindled from light. The parent material remains whole and unimpaired even though you derive from it numerous shoots possessed of its qualities. 48

    Who will deny that God is body, although God is spirit? For spirit has a body of a quality peculiar to itself, in its own form. 49

Origen
    Since our mind is in itself unable to behold God Himself as He is, it knows the Father of the universe from the beauty of His works and from the elegance of His creatures. God, therefore, is not to be thought of as being either a body or as existing in a body, but as a simple intellectual Being, admitting within Himself no addition of any kind. Thus, He cannot be believed to have within Himself something greater and something lesser. Rather, He is in every part "the Alone" and, so to speak, "the One". He is the mind and source from which every intellectual being or mind takes its beginning. 50

    John says in the Gospel, "No one has at any time seen God," clearly declaring to all who are able to understand, that there is no nature to which God is visible: not as if He were indeed visible by nature, and merely escaped or baffled the view of a frailer creature, but because He is by nature impossible to be seen. And if you should ask of me what I think even of the Only-begotten Himself, whether I could say that the nature of God, which is naturally invisible, is not visible even to Him, let not such a question seem to you to be at once either impious or absurd: for we will give you a logical answer.

    For it is just as unsuitable to say that the Son is able to see the Father, as it is unbecoming to suppose that the Holy Spirit is able to see the Son. It is one thing to see, another to know. To see and to be seen belongs to bodies. To know and to be known belongs to an intellectual being. That, therefore, which is proper to bodies, is not to be attributed to either the Father or to the Son; but that which pertains to deity is common to the Father and the Son.

    Finally, even He Himself did not say in the Gospel that no one has seen the Father except the Son, nor anyone the Son except the Father. But He did say, "No one knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone know the Father except the Son. By this it is clearly indicated that whatever among corporal natures is called seeing and being seen, is termed, between the Father and the Son, knowing and being known - by means of the power of knowledge, and not by the frail sense of sight. Inasmuch, then, as neither seeing nor being seen can be properly predicated of an incorporeal and invisible being, neither is the Father, in the Gospel, said to be seen by the Son, nor the Son by the Father; rather, They are said to be known. 51

St. Cyril of Jerusalem
    Whence came the polytheistic error of the Greeks? God has no body: whence, then the adulteries alleged among those whom the Greeks call gods? I will say nothing of the transformation of Zeus into a swan. I am ashamed to mention his transformation into a bull; for bellowings are unworthy of a god. The god of the Greeks has been found an adulterer, and they are not ashamed! But if he is an adulterer, let him not be called a god. They tell also of deaths, and falls, and thunderstrokes of their gods.

    Do you see from how great a height and how low they are fallen? Was it without reason then, that the Son of God came down from heaven? Was it not that He might heal so great a wound? Was not the reason the Son came, that the Father might be known again? You have learned what moved the Only-begotten to come down from the righthand throne: the Father was despised, and the Son must correct the error; for He through whom all things were made must make of all things an offering for the Master of all. 52

St. Hilary of Poitiers
    First it must be remembered that God is incorporeal. He does not consist of certain parts and distinct members, making up one body. For we read in the Gospel that God is spirit: invisible, therefore, and an eternal nature, immeasurable and self-sufficient. It is also written that a spirit does not have flesh and bones. For of these the members of a body consist, and of these the substance of God has no need. God, however, who is everywhere and in all things, is all-hearing, all-seeing, all-doing, and all-assisting. ...The power of God, therefore, which is equal and inseparable, has the names of functions and members. Thus the power by which He sees is called eyes; the power by which He hears is called ears; the power by which He does things is called hands; the power by which He is present is called feet: and so on, through the various functions of His power. 53
The Everlasting God

"Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting!" (Psalms 41:13) What did King David mean when he used the words "everlasting to everlasting" in sending praises to God? Barry suggests that words such as "everlasting" and "forever" are relative terms used by a people with no conception of "eternity" and "infinity". Thus he implies a limitation on the amount of blessings and praises that should be given to God by His people. Barry would like us to believe that to the ancient Hebrew, God could not be both transcendent and yet a loving Father. He suggests a dichotomy between the "Hellenistic" Christian understanding of the transcendence of God and the ancient Hebrew and Jewish Christian understanding of the immanence of God (He is present in His creation but not part of it). To the Catholic Church these are not mutually exclusive ideas! It is a Scriptural fact that He is both our Father and our God. We call God "Father" because our Lord Jesus Christ taught us to speak (pray) to Him in that way. Calling Him "Father" does not diminish His immutability (unchangeableness) as the creator of heaven and earth. Thus King David praising the Eternal Almighty God of Israel is equally as proper as Jesus teaching us to pray, "Our Father Who art in Heaven..." (Matthew 6:9-13)

The word "transcendence" comes from the Latin transcendere. It means "to go beyond or to surpass", and describes the relationship between two things when one is superior and surpasses the other. God transcends all of His creatures. (CCC 42) The Old Testament is replete with passages indicating that God's chosen people never viewed Him as having once been their equivalent. (God is infinite - Job 36:26, Psalms 145:3, Wisdom 11:23; God is eternal - Psalms 90:2, Psalms 102:25, Isaiah 57:15, Daniel 7:14; God us unchangeable - Numbers 23:19, Psalms 102:26, Malachi 3:6; God is omniscient - 2 Chronicles 16:9, Job 21:22, Job 28:24, Job 34:21, Psalms 139:1-6, Psalms 139:16, Proverbs 16:2, Sirach 39:20; God is almighty - Genesis 17:1, Genesis 35:11, Exodus 6:3, Ruth 1:20-21, Job 6:14, Job 22:17, Psalms 91:1, Isaiah 13:6, Ezekiel 10:5, Judith 8:13, Wisdom 7:25, and many others) Nor does Scripture imply that God has subsequently progressed to become superior to man and therefore worthy of our worship. God is unique; there are no other gods besides him. (Isaiah 44:6, CCC 212) In Israel, God is called "Father" inasmuch as He is Creator of the world. (Deuteronomy 32:6, Malachi 2:10, CCC 238-239) God is infinitely greater than all His works: "You have set your glory above the heavens." (Psalms 8, Sirach 43:27-30, CCC 300) Because of His transcendence, God cannot be seen as He is, unless He Himself opens up His mystery to man's immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in His heavenly glory "the beatific vision". (CCC 1028) (See also http://newadvent.org/cathen/07170a.htm#III)

Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth -- as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords" -- yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist." (1 Corinthians 8:5-6 RSVCE) Did he mean to say that there actually are other gods on other planets as the Mormons would have us believe? No, not at all! If we look at these verses in the context of the entire chapter (1 Corinthians 8:1-13), we can see that Paul was addressing the issue of whether or not a Christian should eat food that has been offered to idols. The many "gods" and many "lords" Paul is talking about here are the divinities believed by pagans to exist in the idols they worshiped. The newly converted Christians of Corinth were faced with the practical dilemma of whether or not they should purchase and eat the meat sold in the marketplace, most of which came from animal sacrifices to the pagan gods. Paul sandwiches his many "gods" and many "lords" comment contained in verse 5 between verse 4 ("there is no God but one") and verse 6 ("there is one God, the Father"). He is telling the Christians who are knowledgeable in the faith that they already know this simple truth (there is but one God) and in practice it would not be wrong to eat the meat offered to a non-existent god. However, for the sake of those who are new to the faith from paganism and who may have their consciences defiled at the sight of a knowledgeable Christian eating meat offered to idols, they should abstain from eating this meat. As he says, "Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do."

In his previous statement Barry uses some comments from Origen and Irenaeus to try to show that they might have believed in a plurality of gods (polytheism). Let's look at some other quotes from Origen and Irenaeus to see if he is right.

Origen (God is one and unique)

    The specific points which are clearly handed down through the apostolic preaching are these: First, that there is one God who created and arranged all things, and who, when nothing existed, called all things into existence; ... and that in the final period this God, just as He had promised beforehand through the Prophets, sent the Lord Jesus Christ. . . . Secondly, that Jesus Christ Himself, who came, was born of the Father before all creatures; and after He had ministered to the Father in the creation of all things, - for through Him were all things made (John 1:3), - in the final period he emptied Himself and was made man. Although He was God, He took flesh; and having been made man, He remained what He was, God. He took a body like our body, differing only in this, that it was born of a Virgin and the Holy Spirit.

    Moreover, this Jesus Christ was truly born and truly suffered; and He endured this ordinary death, not in mere appearance, but did truly die; for He truly rose again from the dead, and after His resurrection He conversed with His disciples, and was taken up. Third, they handed it down that the Holy Spirit is associated in honor and dignity with the Father and the Son.

    In His case, however, it is not clearly distinguished whether or not He was born, or even whether He is or is not to be regarded as a Son of God; for these are points of careful inquiry into sacred Scripture, and for prudent investigation. And it is most clearly taught in the Churches that this Spirit inspired each one of the holy men, whether Prophets or Apostles; and that there was not one Spirit in the men of old, and another in those who were inspired after the coming of Christ. 54

    How much more effective it is - and how better than all those invented explanations (Greek myths) - that when we are convinced by what we see in the excellent orderliness of the world, we then worship its Maker as the one Author of one effect, which, since it is entirely in harmony with itself, cannot, therefore, have been the work of many makers. 55

Note: Contrast this to the Mormon version of creation as outlined in the Book of Abraham (Abraham 4:1-31)

Irenaeus (God is one and unique)

    For the Church, although dispersed throughout the whole world even to the ends of the earth, has received from the Apostles and from their disciples the faith in one God, Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth and sea and all that is in them; and in one Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who became flesh for our salvation; and in the Holy Spirit, who announced through the prophets the dispensations and the comings, and the birth from a Virgin, and the passion, and the resurrection from the dead, and the bodily ascension into heaven of the beloved Christ Jesus our Lord, and his coming from heaven in the glory of the Father to re-establish all things; and the raising up again of all flesh of all humanity, in order that to Jesus Christ our Lord and God and Savior and King, in accord with the approval of the invisible Father, every knee shall bend of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue shall confess Him, and that He may make just judgment of them all; and that He may send the spiritual forces of wickedness, and the angels who transgressed and became apostates, and the impious, unjust, lawless and blasphemous among men, into everlasting fire; and that He may grant life, immortality, and surround with eternal glory the just and the holy, and those who have kept His commands and who have persevered in His love, either from their beginning or from their repentance. 56

    We hold, however, the rule of truth, according to which there is one almighty God, who formed all things through His Word, and fashioned and made all things which exist out of that which did not exist; in which regard the Scripture says: "For by the Word of the Lord were the heavens established, and all their strength by the Spirit of His mouth." (Psalms 33[32]:6) And again, "All things were made through Him, and without Him was made nothing." (John 1:3) From all, however, there is no exception; and the Father made all things through Him, whether visible or invisible, whether of sense or of intelligence, whether temporal and for a certain dispensation or eternal and through the ages. 57

    Nor is He moved by anyone; rather, freely and by His Word He made all things. For He alone is God, He alone is Lord, He alone is Creator, He alone is Father, He alone contains all and commands all to exist. 58

    It is easy to demonstrate from the very words of the Lord that He acknowledges one Father, Creator of the world and Fashioner of man, who was proclaimed by the Law and by the Prophets; and that He knows no other, this being God over all. He teaches also that the adoption of sons by the Father, which is eternal life and which takes place through Himself, is conferred on all the just. 59

    If, however, we are not able to find explanations for all those passages of Scripture which are investigated, we ought not on that account seek for another God besides Him who exists. This would indeed be the greatest impiety. Things of that kind we must leave to God, the One who made us, knowing full well that the Scriptures are certainly perfect, since they were spoken by the Word of God and by His Spirit. 60

    Of His own accord and by His own power He made all things and arranged and perfected them; and His will is the substance of all things. He alone, then, is found to be God; He alone is omnipotent, who made all things; He alone is Father, who founded and formed all things, visible and invisible, sensible and insensate, heavenly and earthly, by the Word of His Power (Hebrews 1:3). And He has fitted and arranged all things by His Wisdom; and while He comprehends all, He can be comprehended by none. He is Himself the Designer, Himself the Builder, Himself the Inventor, Himself the Maker, Himself the Lord of all. . . .

    This Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is revealed through His Word, who is His Son -through Him is He revealed and made manifest to all to whom He is revealed. For they know Him, those to whom the Son has given revelation. The Son, however, always co-existing with the Father, of old and from the beginning, always reveals the Father to the Angels and Archangels and Powers and Virtues and to all to whom God wishes to give revelation. 61

As we can clearly see from these quotes from the Early Church Fathers, neither Origen nor Irenaeus indicated any belief other than the one professed by all of the early Christians: "I believe in God the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord: Who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried. He descended into hell; the third day he arose again from the dead. He ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God the Father Almighty; from thence he shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy Catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen." (The Apostles Creed, a formula containing in brief statements, or "articles", the fundamental tenets of Christian belief, and having for its authors, according to tradition, the Twelve Apostles. See http://newadvent.org/cathen/01629a.htm for more information on The Apostles Creed)

Paul in his epistle to the Romans writes that all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. (Romans 8:14-17) The life of a Christian is sharing in the life of Christ, God's only Son. Through adoption we become true children of God and so share also in Christ's inheritance - eternal life in heaven. 62 Barry is absolutely right: to the Judeo/Christian way of thinking, the idea that God was once a man IS a little too close for comfort. We believe that man was created in the image of God and not the other way around.

Three Degrees of Glory?

According to Barry, "one might logically conclude from these passages (John 14:2, 2 Corinthians 12:2) that recipients of salvation will be allotted varying rewards within at least three different "heavens" or "degrees of glory". As I have said before and will continue to say, it is extremely important to read a Bible verse within the proper context. "Text out of context is a pretext"... I'm not sure who said it, but it would certainly seem appropriate here! First we must read John 13:36-38 in order to understand the beginning of chapter 14. Peter asked Jesus, "Lord, where are you going?" and Jesus told him that where He is going they cannot follow now but they will follow afterward. Peter wants to follow Jesus NOW and says that he will lay down his life for Jesus. This is the point where Jesus makes the prediction that Peter will deny Him three times before the cock crows in the morning. Now we can read John 14:1-7 in the proper context. Apparently this prediction of Peter's denial has saddened the disciples. Jesus cheers them up by telling them that He is going away to prepare a place for them in heaven. He tells them that they will eventually attain heaven despite their shortcomings and dragging their feet. Jesus says, "I will come again and will take you to myself". The return Jesus refers to is both His meeting with each soul after death and His Second Coming (Parousia) at the end of the world (1 Corinthians 4:5, 1 Corinthians 11:26, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17, 1 John 2:28). Christ has prepared a heavenly dwelling-place for each of us through His work of redemption, and so His words can be regarded as addressed not only to the Twelve but also to everyone who believes in Him. The Lord will bring with Him into His glory all those who have believed in Him and have stayed faithful to Him. 63

The Catholic Church teaches that there are various degrees of beatitude in heaven corresponding to the various degrees of individual merit. This is a dogma of faith, defined by the Council of Florence. 64 The "Beatitude of Heaven" is the perfect happiness resulting from the direct vision of God enjoyed by the blessed saints in heaven, also called the "Beatific Vision". The degree of beatitude that each person experiences in heaven will be determined by one's "degree of merit" here on earth. 65

When we read the next couple of verses from John 14 we see that the Apostles did not really understand what Jesus was telling them. Thomas asks, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus answered, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him." Clearly Jesus is telling them that they see or behold the Triune God when they see or behold Him: to know Christ Jesus is to know God. By his reply Jesus is, "as it were, saying, By which route do you want to go? I am the Truth. Where do you want to remain? I am the Life. Every man can attain an understanding of the Truth and the Life; but not all find the Way. The wise of this world realize that God joined to the Father, has become the Way by taking a human nature. Make your way contemplating His humility and you will reach God". 66

On this point the Catholic Church agrees with the LDS teaching that there are various degrees of glory in heaven according to one's merit here on earth. Where do Mormons get the idea that there are only THREE degrees of glory and how do they equate that to three heavens or kingdoms? Barry says, "Cardinal Danielou shows that the three heavens scheme originated in the oldest form of Jewish apocalyptic, and was a standard feature of Jewish Christianity." Paul makes an apparent reference to this idea when he says, "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven -- whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. (2 Corinthians 12:2) Mormon apostle LeGrand Richards says that there are actually five places to which we may go after death. He writes, "It is obvious that there could not be a third heaven unless there is also a first and a second heaven. We therefore have three heavens, paradise, and the hell so often spoken of in the scriptures..." 67 Does the third heaven referred to by Paul actually mean that there are literally two other "kingdoms" or "heavens" besides the "Kingdom of Heaven" so frequently mentioned in the Old Testament (Daniel 2:37,44; 4:25,26,31,34; 5:21; 7:27; 11:4) and the New Testament (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 5:3,10,19,20; 6:10; 7:21; 8:11; 10:7; 11:11,12; 13:11,24,31,33,44,45,47,52; 16:19, 18:1,3,4,23; 19:12,14,23; 20:1; 22:2; 23:13; 25:1, Revelations 11:15, 12:10)? If there are at least three kingdoms or heavens as the Mormons believe, why do these verses only mention "kingdom" and "heaven" in the singular rather than in the plural?

Isaiah Bennett provides us a clue as to why Paul made reference to a third heaven. A thorough reading of Scripture discloses the term "heaven" or "heavens" referring to three distinct realities. First, there is what may be called the atmospheric heaven, consisting of the air or sky (Deuteronomy 11:11; Job 35:5; Isaiah 45:8). It is where "the birds of heaven" fly. Second, there is what may be called the celestial heaven, consisting of the physical, stellar region beyond the atmosphere (Genesis 2:1; Jeremiah 4:23; Joel 2:10). It is where we see "the stars of heaven." Third, there is what may be called the spiritual heaven, which consists of the good, non-physical realm beyond this universe (Psalms 103:19; Luke 12:33; Matthew 6:9). It is where "the angels of heaven" are. Paul's reference to being caught up to the third heaven need mean no more than that he was caught up to the heaven where God and the angels are. 68

As Barry mentioned in his previous statement, Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon claimed to have received a vision (Doctrine and Covenants Section 76) which included among other things a description of the three principal kingdoms of glory, the Celestial, the Terrestrial, and the Telestial Kingdoms. The vision was allegedly received after Joseph Smith had translated John 5:29. Readers may not be aware of the fact that Joseph Smith translated what is known as "The Inspired Translation of the Bible". According to Bruce R. McConkie, "...at the command of the Lord and while acting under the spirit of revelation, the Prophet corrected, revised, altered, added to, and deleted from the King James Version of the Bible to form what is now commonly referred to as the Inspired Version of the Bible." 69 Unfortunately the canon of Mormon scripture does not include the "Inspired Translation of the Bible" but only selections from the Book of Moses and Joseph Smith's translated version of Matthew in the Pearl of Great Price. However, the Reorganized Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (http://www.rlds.org) publishes and uses this version as their only Bible.

According to LDS author Rulon T. Burton, Mormons believe that every person in the final judgment will be saved in one of three kingdoms of glory (except the sons of perdition, who are cast into outer darkness). In the top kingdom, called the Celestial Kingdom, there are three separate heavens or degrees. Those who inherit exaltation in the celestial kingdom will thereafter become gods while those who inherit the highest degree of the celestial kingdom will have eternal increase, becoming parents of spirit offspring. The earth will be sanctified and will become the celestial kingdom, which the righteous shall inherit. They will reside in the presence of God the Father. The second kingdom, called the Terrestrial Kingdom, will be inherited by honorable people of the earth who refused the gospel of the Mormon church in mortality, but in the spirit world repented and accepted it from the missionaries in spirit prison. They will be in the presence of Jesus Christ. The third kingdom, called the Telestial Kingdom, is described as containing a glory and grandeur which surpasses all human understanding. It is reserved for the wicked people of the earth, such as adulterers and deliberate liars (liars, and sorcerers, and adulterers, and whoremongers, and whosoever loves and makes a lie. The telestial kingdom is also comprised of several subdivisions whose inhabitants (the ungodly, the filthy who suffer the wrath of God on earth) are ministered to by the Holy Ghost. 70

In the Bible Paul speaks of celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies (1 Corinthians 15:40-42) which would appear on the surface to at least partially support the Mormon belief that these could perhaps be kingdoms of glory. Let's take a closer look at what Paul really means. Again, we need to look at this passage in context. In Chapter 15 Paul is writing about the resurrection of the dead. Apparently some of the Corinthian Christians were objecting to the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead because this was a belief with which Greeks were unfamiliar. Given the great importance of this doctrine, Paul replies at length, pointing first to the historical fact of Christ's resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:1-11) and how it necessarily connects up with the resurrection of the dead in general (1 Corinthians 15:12-34). He then goes on to discuss what form this resurrection will take (1 Corinthians 15:35-58). In verse 35 Paul writes, "But some one will ask, 'How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?'" In the following verses Paul replies to this question using comparisons taken from the vegetable, animal and mineral worlds, to help explain what this resurrection involves. Paul says, "You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is alike, but there is one kind for men, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body."

Paul is not comparing different kingdoms of heaven when he makes his distinction between "celestial" and "terrestrial" bodies, but rather he is comparing the terrestrial (earthly) body of the mortal, fleshly, natural man to the celestial (heavenly) body of the immortal, spiritual, supernatural man raised to eternal life. Nowhere is there any mention of a "telestial" body, a previously unknown word until it was coined by Joseph Smith. Paul goes on to reinforce this distinction between "celestial" and "terrestrial" bodies by contrasting the "earthy" man, Adam, with the "heavenly" man, the Second Adam, Jesus Christ. "Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven." Interestingly, Mormons also falsely use verse 29 from this same chapter to support their notion that their members must be baptized on behalf of dead persons. Paul writes, "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?" Paul is making reference here to a strange custom that some Corinthian Christians are probably involved in where they baptized their children in the name of deceased relatives in the hope that these relatives might also receive a share in the resurrection in Christ. Paul is neither approving nor condemning this custom; he is simply saying that it demonstrates Christian belief in the resurrection of the dead.

The Early Church Fathers seem to be in general agreement with the Catholic Church in her understanding of the various degrees of glory in heaven according to earthly merit. Here's what they have to say on the subject:

Aphraates the Persian Sage

    Again, heed the Apostle, who says, "Each and every one shall receive his reward in accord with his work (1 Corinthians 3:8)." Who labored little shall receive his reward according to his remissness; and who ran well will be rewarded according to how he ran. . . . And again the Apostle says, "Star exceeds star in brightness; so also the resurrection of the dead (1 Corinthians 15:41-42)." Know then, that even when the sons of men shall enter into life, still, reward shall exceed reward, and glory shall exceed glory, and recompense shall be greater than recompense. 71
St. Jerome
    It is our task, according to our different virtues, to prepare for ourselves different rewards. . . . If we were all going to be equal in heaven it would be useless for us to humble ourselves here in order to have a greater place there. . . Why should virgins persevere? Why should widows toil? Why should married women be continent? Let us all sin, and after we repent we shall be the same as the Apostles are! 72
St. Augustine of Hippo
    In that pay, then, we shall all be equal, the first like the last and the last like the first. Because that denarius (Matthew 20:2) is eternal life, and in eternal life all will be equal. For although they will shine, some more and some less, by a diversity of merit, what pertains to eternal life will be given equally to all. 73

    The denarius which the householder orders to be given to all of those who worked in his vineyard, with no distinction between those who labored less and those who labored more, is given equally to all (Matthew 20:9). By that denarius it is certainly eternal life that is signified, in which no one lives longer than anyone else, since in eternity life has no diversity in its measure. But the many mansions (John 14:2) signify different worths of merits in the one eternal life. 74

    After the resurrection, however, when the universal and final judgment has been made, two cities will have their boundaries; one, of course, of Christ, and the other of the Devil; one of the good, the other of the wicked; yet both made up of angels and of men. For the one group there will be no will to sin, and for the other, no power to do so; nor will there be any possibility of dying. The former will be living truly and happily in eternal life; the latter will be enduring unhappily in eternal death without the power to die; for both shall be without end. Among the former one man will be more pre-eminent in happiness than another; and among the latter the abiding misery of one man will be more tolerable than that of another. 75

St. Gregory I
    Since in this life there is with us a distinction of works, in that other life there will undoubtedly be a distinction of honors, so that, because here one surpasses another in merit, there one will transcend another in reward. Hence Truth tells us in the Gospel: "In My Father's house there are many mansions (John 14:2)." But in those same many mansions the very diversity of rewards will be in some way harmonious, because in that peace so great a strength will unite us that a man will rejoice because another has received even what he did not himself receive. Whence also those not laboring equally in the vineyard will all be paid equally a denarius (Matthew 20:10). It is true that with the Father there are many mansions; but it is true also that unequal laborers will receive the same denarius; for joyful beatitude will be one and the same for all, although the sublimity of their existence will not be one and the same for all. 76
I am not saying that there cannot be any number of different heavenly regions. God can do whatever He wants. If He wants to create three, seven, ten, or however many heavens He decides, He most certainly can do it (ex nihilo of course). The important thing to realize here is that there is no Biblical proof or historical evidence to adequately support the Mormon notion of three principal kingdoms of glory called the Celestial, the Terrestrial, and the Telestial. Additionally, none of the quotes Barry provided from the Early Church Fathers or others even comes close to resembling the specific Mormon teachings on these three kingdoms and their inhabitants. Thus Mormons are forced to rely entirely on the contents of the vision allegedly received by Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon as their sole source of authority on the fate of mankind after the general resurrection and judgment. It is not written in the Bible and the early Christians knew nothing about the concept of exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom with the ultimate goal of becoming a god of your own world, worshipped by your own spiritual and physical offspring. We do not find mention of the Terrestrial Kingdom as an abode for the good people who were just and kind, but were not valiant in their testimony of Jesus (no faith in Christ), nevertheless they will reside in the presence of Jesus. Nor is there any mention of the Telestial Kingdom of heaven where the wicked masses of the earth who spent their entire residence in the Spirit World in Hell and who will ultimately receive their glory in the presence of the Holy Spirit. In my mind that is a pretty good reason to go out and sin boldly if the worst that can happen to you is to be banished to the lower part of heaven to be ministered to by the Holy Spirit. Of course, that isn't what Christ taught us to do, nor are we called to disobedience to God. The Catholic Church teaches that Hell exists eternally for all those who separate themselves from God by their own free choice. (CCC 1033) "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:14-15)

Celestial Marriage?

Barry is absolutely right, the idea that a man and a woman who are "sealed" to each other in the LDS temple are united beyond the Resurrection and into eternity, is indeed one of the most bizarre LDS beliefs we are confronted with. This is especially true given the corresponding belief that this "sealing" ceremony also includes as its ultimate goal the personal exaltation and eventual godhood of each male member. Jesus was very specific when He said, "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven." (Matthew 22:23-30) He also said, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; 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." (Luke 20:34-36) Barry would have us believe, as with the Gnostics, that somehow there was a secret teaching, His most precious pearl if you will, concerning a sacred marriage rite in this world that Jesus did not want to reveal before the Sadducee "swine". Why would Jesus be secretive about such a seemingly unimportant thing as being "sealed" in marriage for all time and eternity when He quite openly told these same people that He was God? He was eventually crucified because of this "blasphemy" which He continued to repeat, and yet He never mentioned anything about marriage after the resurrection. Why would the writers of Sacred Scripture allow such an important thing to be omitted from their gospels, epistles, and letters? Why is there no indication of support for this secret ceremony in the writings of the Early Church Fathers?

The best that Barry can offer from the Early Church Fathers in support of celestial marriage is a quote from Origen complaining about certain "Jewish Christians" who believed in marriage after the resurrection. Why did Origen complain? He was troubled by the false opinion of some that "the fulfillment of the promises of the future are to be looked for in bodily pleasure and luxury" and that in order to satisfy these earthly needs they falsely imagined that "after the resurrection there will be marriages, and the begetting of children..." Origen also seems distressed over the common Jewish notion that the "earthly city of Jerusalem is to be rebuilt..." rather than focusing on the Christian notion of the heavenly Jerusalem preached by Christ (the divine promises).

Bread and Wine (Water?) as Body and Blood

Why is there such strong language about the true nature of the Eucharist, both in the Bible and in the writings of the Early Church Fathers? The Eucharist is not, as many denominations believe, "just a symbol" but truly what Christ said it is: "This is My Body" and "This is My Blood" (Matthew 26:26-28; Mark 14:22-24; Luke 22:19-20; 1 Corinthians 11:24-25) and "I am the Bread of Life" (John 6:35,48). He said, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever." (John 6:53-58) Clearly Jesus is not speaking in symbolic terms here. He meant what He said. Christ fulfilled His promise to give us His Flesh and Blood at the Last Supper when He instituted the Eucharist. Thus we have the constant teaching of the Catholic Church that Jesus Christ is truly present, Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity, in the Holy Eucharist through the mystery of Transubstantiation. History also supports this early Christian understanding of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. The earliest Christians were often accused of being cannibals because they were gathering together and eating "flesh" and drinking "blood" during their offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass.

Here are some examples from the Early Church Fathers concerning their understanding of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist:

St. Ignatius of Antioch

    I have no taste for corruptible food nor for the pleasures of this life. I desire the Bread of God (John 6:33), which is the Flesh of Jesus Christ, who was of the seed of David (John 7:42; Romans 1:3); and for drink I desire His Blood, which is love incorruptible. 77

    Take care, then, to use one Eucharist, so that whatever you do, you do according to God: for there is one Flesh of our Lord Jesus Christ, and one cup in the union of His Blood; one altar, as there is one bishop with the presbytery and my fellow servants, the deacons. 78

    They abstain from the Eucharist and from prayer, because they do not confess that the Eucharist is the Flesh of our Savior Jesus Christ, Flesh which suffered for our sins and which the Father, in His goodness, raised up again. 79

St. Justin the Martyr
    We call this food Eucharist; and no one else is permitted to partake of it, except one who believes our teaching to be true and who has been washed in the washing which is for the remission of sins and for regeneration, and is thereby living as Christ has enjoined. For not as common bread nor common drink do we receive these; but since Jesus Christ our Savior was made incarnate by the word of God and had both flesh and blood for our salvation, so too, as we have been taught, the food which has been made into the Eucharist by the Eucharistic prayer set down by Him, and by the change of which our blood and flesh is nourished, is both the flesh and the blood of that incarnated Jesus. 80
St. Irenaeus
    They are vain in every respect, who despise the entire dispensation of God, and deny the salvation of the body and spurn its regeneration, saying that it is not capable of immortality. If the body be not saved, then, in fact, neither did the Lord redeem us with His Blood; and neither is the cup of the Eucharist the partaking of His Blood nor is the Bread which we break the partaking of His Body (1 Corinthians 10:16). . . . As we are His members, so too are we nourished by means of created things, He Himself granting us the creation, causing His sun to rise and sending rain as He wishes. He has declared the cup, a part of creation to be His own Blood, from which He causes our blood to flow; and the bread, a part of creation, He has established as His own Body, from which He gives increase to our bodies.

    When, therefore, the mixed cup and the baked bread receives the Word of God and becomes the Eucharist, the Body of Christ, and from these the substance of our flesh is increased and supported, how can they say that the flesh is not capable of receiving the gift of God, which is eternal life - flesh which is nourished by the Body and Blood of the Lord, and is in fact a member of Him?

    In this regard the blessed Paul says in his Epistle to the Ephesians: "Because we are members of His Body, from His flesh and His bones." . . . In the same way that the wood of the vine planted in the ground bears fruit in due season; or as a grain of wheat, falling on the ground, decomposes and rises up in manifold increase through the Spirit of God who contains all things; and then, through the Wisdom of God, comes to the service of men, and receiving the Word of God, becomes the Eucharist, which is the Body and Blood of Christ; so also our bodies, nourished by it, and deposited in the earth and decomposing therein, shall rise up in due season, the Word of God favoring them with resurrection in the glory of God the Father. 81

Tertullian
    No soul whatever is able to obtain salvation, unless it has believed while it was in the flesh. Indeed, the flesh is the hinge of salvation. In that regard, when the soul is deputed to something by God, it is the flesh which makes it able to carry out the commission which God has given it. The flesh, then, is washed, so that the soul may be made clean. The flesh is anointed, so that the soul may be dedicated to holiness. The flesh is signed, so that the soul too may be fortified. The flesh is shaded by the imposition of hands, so that the soul too may be illuminated by the Spirit. The flesh feeds on the Body and Blood of Christ, so that the soul too may fatten on God. They cannot, then, be separated in their reward, when they are united in their works. 82
Origen
    I wish to admonish you with examples from your religion. You are accustomed to take part in the divine mysteries, so you know how, when you have received the Body of the Lord, you reverently exercise every care lest a particle of it fall, and lest anything of the consecrated gift perish. You account yourselves guilty, and rightly do you so believe, if any of it be lost through negligence. But if you observe such caution in keeping His Body, and properly so, how is it that you think neglecting the word of God a lesser crime than neglecting His Body? 83
St. Ephraim
    Our Lord Jesus took in His hands what in the beginning was only bread; and He blessed it, and signed it, and made it holy in the name of the Father and in the name of the Spirit; and He broke it and in His gracious kindness He distributed it to all His disciples one by one. He called the bread His living Body, and did Himself fill it with Himself and the Spirit. And extending His hand, He gave them the Bread which His right hand had made holy: "Take, all of you eat of this, which My word has made holy. Do not now regard as bread that which I have given you; but take, eat this Bread, and do not scatter the crumbs; for what I have called My Body, that it is indeed. One particle from its crumbs is able to sanctify thousands and thousands, and is sufficient to afford life to those who eat of it. Take, eat, entertaining no doubt of faith, because this is My Body, and whoever eats it in belief eats in it Fire and Spirit. But if any doubter eat of it, for him it will be only bread. And whoever eats in belief the Bread made holy in My name, if he be pure, he will be preserved in his purity; and if he be a sinner, he will be forgiven." But if anyone despise it or reject it or treat it with ignominy, it may be taken as a certainty that he treats with ignominy the Son, who called it and actually made it to be His Body.

    After the disciples had eaten the new and holy Bread, and when they understood by faith that they had eaten of Christ's body, Christ went on to explain and to give them the whole Sacrament. He took and mixed a cup of wine. Then He blessed it, and signed it, and made it holy, declaring that it was His own Blood, which was about to be poured out. ...Christ commanded them to drink, and He explained to them that the cup which they were drinking was His own Blood: "This is truly My Blood, which is shed for all of you. Take, all of you, drink of this, because it is a new covenant in My Blood. As you have seen Me do, do you also in My memory. Whenever you are gathered together in My name in Churches everywhere, do what I have done, in memory of Me. Eat My Body, and drink My Blood, a covenant new and old." 84

St. Cyril of Jerusalem
    Let us, then, with full confidence, partake of the Body and Blood of Christ. For in the figure of bread His Body is given to you, and in the figure of wine His Blood is given to you, so that by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, you might become united in body and blood with Him. For thus do we become Christ-bearers, His Body and Blood being distributed through our members. And thus it is that we become, according to the blessed Peter, sharers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)

    Do not, therefore, regard the Bread and the Wine as simply that; for they are, according to the Master's declaration, the Body and Blood of Christ. Even though the senses suggest to you the other, let faith make you firm. Do not judge in this matter by taste, but - be fully assured by the faith, not doubting that you have been deemed worthy of the Body and Blood of Christ. 85

St. Hilary of Poitiers
    When we speak of the reality of Christ's nature being in us, we would be speaking foolishly and impiously - had we not learned it from Him. For He Himself says: "My Flesh is truly Food, and My Blood is truly Drink. He hat eats My Flesh and drinks My Blood will remain in Me and I in him." (John 6:56-57) As to the reality of His Flesh and Blood, there is no room left for doubt, because now, both by the declaration of the Lord Himself and by our own faith, it is truly Flesh and it is truly Blood. And These Elements bring it about, when taken and consumed, that we are in Christ and Christ is in us. Is this not true? Let those who deny that Jesus Christ is true God be free to find these things untrue. But He Himself is in us through the flesh and we are in Him, while that which we are with Him is in God. 86
St. Gregory of Nyssa
    He offered Himself for us, Victim and Sacrifice, and Priest as well, and "Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world." (John 1:29) When did He do this? When He made His own Body food and His own Blood drink for His disciples; for this much is clear enough to anyone, that a sheep cannot be eaten by a man unless its being eaten be preceded by its being slaughtered. This giving of His own Body to His disciples for eating clearly indicates that the sacrifice of the Lamb has now been completed. 87
There are many more examples from the Early Church Fathers concerning the True Presence of Christ in the Eucharist under the appearances of bread and wine, but I think these should suffice. The Early Church Fathers used such strong language in describing the Eucharist because they truly believed what they wrote. It was not, as Barry insists, because they merely followed the strictly Hellenistic interpretation first introduced by the Gnostics.

Barry stated that the LDS indifference to the actual "substance" of the Eucharist has made possible the variation in the Mormon sacramental practice of substituting water for wine. He claims that this was initially done because of the threat of poisoning by persecutors. I'm not sure how water can be considered less susceptible to poisoning than wine. Doctrine and Covenants 27:2 indicates that it "mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory..." I suppose there is no prohibition against using cookies and milk or some other substitute for the sacrament, either. According to the Mormon canon it doesn't really matter what ingredients are used for the "sacrament".

Another reason given for the Mormon change from wine to water was the subsequent institution of the Mormon "health code" which forbids the use of alcohol. On the surface this all sounds well and good, but let's take a closer look at the "health code" Barry mentioned. It is called the "Word of Wisdom" and it is contained in the Doctrine and Covenants Section 89. The "Word of Wisdom" forbids the use of "wine or strong drink" except "in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him (the Father)." Verse 6 states that this offering should be "wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make." It appears to me that the health code specifically allows for the use of wine in the sacrament. This is not the only incident of conflicting advice in the health code. The Word of Wisdom states that "tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle..." Do Mormons really use tobacco as an herb for bruises? Next comes the hardest leap to make. The Word of Wisdom states that "hot drinks are not for the body or belly." Somehow Mormons have extracted from this prohibition against hot drinks the idea that caffeine is the ingredient to be avoided, whether in hot or cold drinks. While Mormons will abstain from drinking coffee or iced tea, they have no problems with drinking a mug of hot chocolate! Lastly, the Word of Wisdom suggests that "flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air...should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine." Do Mormons abstain from eating meat and poultry except in winter or famine? Nope! Rather than the noble reason of the "health code", Mormons have arbitrarily changed the matter of their sacrament from wine to water with no Scriptural basis for doing so.

Brigham Young gave some interesting insights into the reason why the Word of Wisdom was revealed to Joseph Smith. Young said, "I think I am as well acquainted with the circumstances which led to the giving of the Word of Wisdom as any man in the Church, although I was not present at the time to witness them. The first school of the prophets was held in a small room situated over the Prophet Joseph's kitchen, in a house which belonged to Bishop Whitney, and which was attached to his store, which store probably might be about fifteen feet square. In the rear of this building was a kitchen, probably ten by fourteen feet, containing rooms and pantries. Over this kitchen was situated the room in which the Prophet received revelations and in which he instructed his brethren. The brethren came to that place for hundreds of miles to attend school in a little room probably no larger than eleven by fourteen. When they assembled together in this room after breakfast, the first they did was to light their pipes, and, while smoking, talk about the great things of the kingdom and spit all over the room, and as soon as the pipe was out of their mouths a large chew of tobacco would then be taken. Often when the Prophet entered the room to give the school instructions he would find himself in a cloud of tobacco smoke. This, and the complaints of his wife at having to clean so filthy a floor, made the Prophet think upon the matter, and he inquired of the Lord relating to the conduct of the Elders in using tobacco, and the revelation known as the Word of Wisdom was the result of his inquiry." 88

The Catholic Church teaches that in order to have a licit and valid celebration of the Eucharist, the Sacrifice of the Mass must be celebrated with bread and wine. Any celebration of the Eucharist that does not use bread and wine of the type described in the Code of Canon Law is illicit, meaning it is not permitted. If the deviation from the requisite type of bread and wine is substantial enough, the celebration of the sacrament will be invalid, meaning that the elements do not become the Body and Blood of Christ when the priest says the words of consecration. 89 We do this in order to be faithful to the Lord's command that the Church continue to do, in His memory and until His glorious return, what He did on the eve of His Passion: "Jesus took bread..." (Matthew 26:26) "He took a cup... of this fruit of the vine (wine)..." (Matthew 26:27-29) (CCC 1333-1336)

Recap and Conclusions

Once again I would like to thank Barry Bickmore for engaging in this debate in such a courteous and respectful manner. I have learned a great deal more about the LDS as well as my own Catholic faith through the many long hours of reading and research involved in preparing each of the statements. I sincerely appreciate Barry's kind consideration for my busy schedule in allowing me to take as much time as I needed to finish this closing statement. Throughout the past two years Barry has been nothing less than a total gentleman in his dealings with me. I have enjoyed the challenges his arguments have posed concerning my beliefs. It has truly strengthened my faith and trust in God to know that the Holy Bible, Sacred Tradition, secular history, and the Early Church Fathers all support the constant teaching of the Catholic Church.

Throughout the past two thousand years of history, Christianity has been defined by a few basic truths. All who call themselves Christian have acknowledged these truths as fundamental to the faith. First is the belief in One God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. Before we can believe in anything else we must first believe in God. Secondly, the faith of all Christians depends on our belief in the Holy Trinity as the central mystery of Christianity. We believe that the One God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, Three Persons sharing one divine nature. Thus the Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, three Divine Persons really distinct and equal in all things, yet they are one and the same God, having one and the same divine nature and substance. The Trinity is a strict mystery because it could not be rationally conceived before the self-revelation of God, and cannot be rationally comprehended (fully understood) even since its revelation. Another basic tenet of Christianity is the belief that Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, by the power of the Holy Spirit, was born of the Virgin Mary and became man. He suffered and died on the cross so that our sins could be forgiven. He rose from the dead and He ascended into heaven. We also believe in the resurrection of the body and the life everlasting. Furthermore, we believe in the mercy of God - that He will reward us for our good deeds. We also believe He is a God of Justice - that He will punish those who have sinned. Therefore in order to be saved we must have faith, we must obey the Commandments of God and of the Church He established, we must have an active prayer life (communicate with and listen to God), and we must put into practice what we have learned.

God chose to reveal Himself to the children of Israel. He inspired the prophets of old to write down and pass on their understanding of who God is and what He wants from us. The history of salvation starts with our first parents, Adam and Eve, using their free will to disobey God by allowing themselves to be tempted to sin by the serpent (Satan). They and their offspring were cursed with the stain of original sin, which is the absence of God's presence (restored in Baptism). But God provided hope for the future. The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:14-15) "The woman" He spoke of was the Virgin Mary. "Her seed" was the promised Messiah, Jesus Christ.

"For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Corinthians 15:22) Jesus Christ, the second Adam, who was born of the Virgin Mary, the second Eve, came to redeem us from the sin of the first Adam and to reconcile us with God. In order to fulfill God's plan for our salvation, Jesus chose Twelve Apostles to receive the fullness of the Gospel teachings. He specifically chose Peter to be the first in authority among the apostles. It was upon "this rock" (Peter) that Christ promised He would build His Church. It was to Peter alone that Christ gave the keys of the kingdom of heaven. He also promised Peter infallibility (the inability to err when teaching in matters of faith and morals) when He said, "whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (Matthew 16:18-19)

Jesus Christ intended for His Church to continue teaching the Gospel with His authority until the end of time. Jesus is like the wise man who built His house (the Church) on a rock (Peter), "...it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock." (Matthew 7:24-27) He promised the gates of hell would not prevail against it when He said, "...you are Peter (Kepha - Rock), and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it." (Matthew 16:18) In Matthew 18:15-18 Jesus commands His followers to take disputes involving religious matters to the Church for resolution. He would not instruct us to do such a thing if He knew that the Church would soon fall into total apostasy and become corrupted. The Church must, out of necessity, always exist in order for Jesus to give such a command. Matthew 28:19-20 provides the undeniable statement from Jesus that He would be with His Church until the end of time. "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age." It is impossible for the Church to apostatize and become doctrinally corrupt, for Jesus promised He would always remain in His Church. Lastly, St. Paul tells us that the Church is the pillar and ground (bulwark or foundation) of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15) These are very strong words used to indicate strength, stability, and permanence. In order to be the pillar and foundation Paul speaks of, the Church must be a permanent teacher of truth, not a temporary household built upon sand only to be rebuilt later.

The Twelve Apostles chose others to be bishops (Greek meaning "an overseer"). These bishops were appointed by the Apostles to continue their mission from Christ. The bishop has the authority and power of Christ to administer all the sacraments, including ordination of other men to the priesthood. Apostolic succession was first demonstrated in Acts 1:20-26 when Matthias was chosen to replace Judas. Every validly ordained bishop in the Catholic Church can trace his priesthood authority back through history to one of the Twelve Apostles. This authority has been passed on in an unbroken chain of ordinations by the laying-on of hands from the Apostles to their successors, the bishops, and to their successors, other bishops, and so on down the line throughout all of Catholic Christian history. The bishops of the Catholic Church are the successors to the Apostles in a continuous line of apostolic succession. The Catholic Church has existed continuously since the time of the Apostles, and it was founded as an earthly organization upon Peter, the rock.

My brothers and sisters, the choices are quite simple. Either there was a "Total Apostasy" in the early Christian Church and the Gospel of Jesus Christ was lost to the world for hundreds of years, or the Christian Church has survived intact for almost 2,000 years through "Apostolic Succession". If we accept the "Total Apostasy" theory then we must believe that the Gospel was lost and the promises of Christ set forth in the Bible are meaningless. For arguments sake, let's say that the Gospel was restored through the Prophet Joseph Smith. Even if that were true we have no assurance that it will not be corrupted again. According to Mormon teaching, Jesus Christ founded what would eventually become an apostate church built upon sand, both in the Holy Land and in the New World, according to the Book of Mormon. Since He failed to establish a lasting church twice before, we may reasonably question whether or not He will succeed this time. Thus, logically we cannot trust the Word of God to contain the fullness of truth, hence the Mormon need for continuing revelation which updates and changes the truth. However, if the "Total Apostasy" theory cannot be proven by biblical or historical evidence, then the Ancient Church is in fact the same Catholic Church that we see today. No other Christian church can trace its authority unbroken back to the original apostolic source other than the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church established by Jesus Christ. We can be confident that the original Deposit of Faith was carefully handed down to us through "Apostolic Succession". We can also be sure that Jesus Christ kept His promises, that His Church survived, and that it will continue to proclaim the fullness of truth until the end of time.

I have made every effort throughout this debate to present the doctrine of the Catholic Church to the best of my knowledge and ability. I am not a theologian and I do not possess any ecclesiastical teaching authority. However, I seek to follow the admonition of Peter to "Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence;". (1 Peter 3:15) Thank you for taking the time to read this debate. I hope it has provided you with some spiritual food for thought. If you are interested in learning more about the Catholic Church, please feel free to contact me at stevec@transporter.com Thanks and God bless you!

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References and Footnotes

All Bible references are taken from the
Revised Standard Version (RSV) - Catholic Edition
(unless otherwise indicated)




1

Miller, J. Michael, C.S.B., The Shepherd and the Rock - Origins, Development, and Mission of the Papacy, (Huntington, Indiana: Our Sunday Visitor, Inc., 1995) p. 58 with Footnote 37, Charles Journet, "Collegiality," L'Osservatore Romano, 35 (August 28, 1969), 5.


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2

Carroll, Warren H., The Founding of Christendom - A History of Christendom, Vol. 1, (Front Royal, VA: Christendom Press, 1985). For a much fuller explanation see Chapter 17, He Chose Twelve - and Paul.


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3

Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, The Navarre Bible Texts and Commentaries, (Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1990-1998), pp. 175-176, Commentary on Galatians 1:17-20. (Hereafter cited as Navarre Bible Commentaries.)


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4

Laux, Fr. John, M.A., Introduction to the Bible - The Nature, History, Authorship and Content of the Holy Bible, with Selections from and Commentaries on the Various Books, (Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1990) p. 294.


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5

Navarre Bible Commentaries on Ephesians 4:11-12, pp. 72-73.


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6

Quinn, D. Michael, Mormon Hierarchy: Origins of Power, (Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 1994) pp. 10-14. (New Mormon Studies CD-ROM - A Comprehensive Resource Library, Salt Lake City: Smith Research Associates, c/o Signature Books, Inc.)


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7

Jurgens, William A., The Faith of the Early Fathers, (Collegeville, Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1970-1979) Vol 1, para 656)


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8

Pastor of Hermas, Vision 3:8, in Lake, K., tr., The Apostolic Fathers, (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1913,) 2:49. See also Snyder, G., The Apostolic Fathers: A New Translation and Commentary, (Camden, NJ: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1968,) 6:50. This and subsequent citations from the Pastor of Hermas are quoted from Barry Bickmore's opening statement unless otherwise indicated.


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9

Jurgens, Intro to The Shepherd, Vol. 1, pp. 32-33.


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10

Carroll, The Founding of Christendom, Vol. 1, p. 450.


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11

Bennett, Isaiah, Inside Mormonism - What Mormons really Believe, (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 1999) pp. 169-170. (Hereafter cited as IM.)


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12

IM, pp. 184-185.


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13

IM, pp. 180-182.


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14

IM, p. 185.


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15

IM, p. 175.


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16

IM, p. 175.


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17

IM, p. 174.


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18

IM, p. 186.


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19

IM, p. 187.


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20

Navarre Bible Commentaries, Catholic Epistles, p. 112.


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21

Navarre Bible Commentaries, 1 Peter 4, p. 114.


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22

Navarre Bible Commentaries, 2 Peter, p. 130.


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23

Navarre Bible Commentaries, Matthew, p. 157.


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24

Kinkead, Rev. Thomas L., An Explanation of the Baltimore Catechism of Christian Doctrine, (Rockford, Illinois: Tan Books and Publishers, Inc., 1988) No. 4, p. 43, question 33.


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25

Kinkead, p. 29, question 6.


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26

Sheed, Frank J., Theology and Sanity, (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1993) p. 129.


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27

Documentary History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, History of Joseph Smith, The Prophet, by himself, Introduction and Notes by B. H. Roberts, Original first published by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Vol 6, Ch 14, Pg 308, par 3., (Ultimate LDS Family Library on CD-ROM, Salt Lake City: The Portals Project, Inc., 1997.)


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28

The Bible Library for Catholics, (Liguori, MO: Liguori Publications, 1995). (Liguori Faithware CD-ROM.)


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29

Kreeft, Peter, & Tacelli, Ronald K., Handbook of Christian Apologetics - Hundreds of Answers to Crucial Questions, (Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1994), pp. 104-105.


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30

See Twenty Arguments for the Existence of God, Handbook of Christian Apologeticsfor a more detailed explanation on the arguments for the existence of God. See also Thomas Acquinas, Summa Theologica, for his five basic proofs for the existence of God: Proof from Motion, Proof from Causality, Proof from Contingency, Degrees of Perfection, and Proof from Design.


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31

Lorenzo Snow in the Millennial Star 56 (3 December 1894): 771-73 (from New Mormon Studies CD-ROM, Revelations in Addition to Those Found in the LDS Edition of the D&C)


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32

Doctrines of Salvation, Sermons & Writings of Joseph Fielding Smith, Compiled by Bruce R. McConkie, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1954-1956), 2:47. (Ultimate LDS Family Library on CD-ROM.)


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33

Journal of Discourses, by Brigham Young, His Two Counselors, The Twelve Apostles, and Others, Reported by G.D. Watt - 26 Volumes, (London: Latter-day Saints Book Depot, 1854-1886, Reprint edition 1967), Bk 2, Dis Orson Pratt 1855/02/18, par 334. (Ultimate LDS Family Library on CD-ROM.)


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34

Confessions, III, 6, 11. Navarre Bible Commentaries, Acts 17:27-28, pp. 189-190.


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35

Navarre Bible Commentaries, Acts 17:29)


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36

De decretis nicaenae synodi, 11. Navarre Bible Commentaries, Acts 17:27-28, pp. 189-190.


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37

McConkie, Bruce R., Mormon Doctrine, (Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, Inc., 1966) Ch. M, MOTHER IN HEAVEN. (Ultimate LDS Family Library on CD-ROM)


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38

Journal of Discourses, Bk. 1, Dis Brigham Young 1852/04/09, par 46. (Ultimate LDS Family Library on CD-ROM)


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39

Journal of Discourses, Bk. 8, Dis Brigham Young 1860/07/08, par 114. (Ultimate LDS Family Library on CD-ROM)


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40

Mormon Doctrine, Ch. O, ONLY BEGOTTEN SON. (Ultimate LDS Family Library on CD-ROM)


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41

"THE KING FOLLETT DISCOURSE", Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Joseph Field Smith, Ch. Section 6:1843-1844, Pg. 345, par 3. (Ultimate LDS Family Library on CD-ROM)


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42

"THE KING FOLLETT DISCOURSE", Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, Joseph Field Smith, Ch. Section 6:1843-1844, Pg. 346, par 3. (Ultimate LDS Family Library on CD-ROM)


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43

Musings of the Main Mormon Gordon B. Hinkley, Don Lattin, San Francisco Chronicle, April 13th, 1997 (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/chronicle/archive/1997/04/13/SC36289.DTL)


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44

Kingdom Come, David Van Biema, Time magazine, August 4, 1997 Vol. 150 No. 5. (http://www.time.com/time/magazine/1997/dom/970804/religion.kingdom_come_.html)


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45

Aristides of Athens, Apology [ca. A.D. 140], Jurgens, para 111.


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46

Tatian the Syrian, Address to the Greeks [ca. A.D. 165/175], Jurgens, para 152.


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47

Athenagoras of Athens, Supplication for the Christians, [ca. A.D. 177], Jurgens, para 164.


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48

Tertullian, Apology, [A.D. 197], Jurgens, para 277.


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49

Tertullian, Against Praxeas, [post A.D. 213], Jurgens, para 374.


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50

Origen, The Fundamental Doctrines, [inter A.D. 220-230], Jurgens, para 451.


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51

Origen, The Fundamental Doctrines, [inter A.D. 220-230], Jurgens, para 452.


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52

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, [ca. A.D. 350], Jurgens, para 822b.


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53

St. Hilary of Poitiers, Commentaries on the Psalms, [A.D. 358/359], Jurgens, para 894.


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54

Origen, The Fundamental Doctrines [inter A.D. 220-230], Jurgens, para 445.


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55

Origen, Against Celsus [ca. A.D. 248], Jurgens, para 515.


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56

St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies [inter A.D. 180/199], Jurgens, para 191.


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57

St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies [inter A.D. 180/199], Jurgens, para 194.


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58

St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies [inter A.D. 180/199], Jurgens, para 196.


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59

St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies [inter A.D. 180/199], Jurgens, para 199a.


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60

St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies [inter A.D. 180/199], Jurgens, para 203.


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61

St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies [inter A.D. 180/199], Jurgens, para 205.


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62

Navarre Bible Commentaries, Romans 8:14-30, p. 115.


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63

Navarre Bible Commentaries, John 14:1-3, p. 184.


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64

Denzinger, Enchiridion, edition 10, n. 693 - old edition, n. 588.


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65

See HEAVEN at http://newadvent.org/cathen/07170a.htm


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66

St. Augustine, De verbis Domini sermones, 54.


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67

Richards, LeGrand, A Marvelous Work and a Wonder, (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Company, 1976) p. 254.


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68

IM, p. 365.


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69

Mormon Doctrine, INSPIRED VERSION OF THE BIBLE. (Ultimate LDS Family Library on CD-ROM)


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70

Burton, Rulon T., We Believe - Doctrines and Principles of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (Salt Lake City: Tabernacle Books, 1994-1997).


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71

Aphraates the Persian Sage, Treatises, [inter A.D. 336-345], Jurgens, para 696.


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72

St. Jerome, Against Jovinian, [ca. A.D. 393], Jurgens, para 1383.


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73

St. Augustine of Hippo, Sermons, [inter A.D. 391-430], Jurgens, para 1502.


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74

St. Augustine of Hippo, Homilies on the Gospel of John, [A.D. 416 et 417], Jurgens, para 1831.


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75

St. Augustine of Hippo, Enchiridion of Faith, Hope, and Love, [A.D. 421], Jurgens, para 1931.


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76

St. Gregory I, Moral Teachings from Job, [inter A.D. 578-595], Jurgens, para 2308.


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77

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Romans, [ca. A.D. 110], Jurgens, para 54a.


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78

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Philadelphians, [ca. A.D. 110], Jurgens, para 56.


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79

St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans, [ca. A.D. 110], Jurgens, para 64.


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80

St. Justin the Martyr, First Apology, [inter A.D. 148-155], Jurgens, para 128.


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81

St. Irenaeus, Against Heresies, [inter A.D. 180/199], Jurgens, para 249.


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82

Tertulian, The Resurrection of the Dead, [inter A.D. 208/212], Jurgens, para 362.


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83

Origen, Homilies on Exodus, [post A.D. 244], Jurgens, para 490.


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84

St. Ephraim, Homilies, [ca. A.D. 306 - A.D. 373], Jurgens, para 707 and 708.


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85

St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, [ca. A.D. 350], Jurgens, para 845 and 846.


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86

St. Hilary of Poitiers, The Trinity, [inter A.D. 356-259], Jurgens, para 870.


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87

St. Gregory of Nyssa, Sermon One on the Resurrection of Christ, [AD 382], Jurgens, para 1063.


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88

Journal of Discourses, Book 12, Brigham Young 1868/02/08, par 157. (Ultimate LDS Family Library on CD-ROM)


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89

Akin, James, Mass Confusion - The Do's and Don'ts of Catholic Worship, (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 1998) p. 68.


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Acts 1:20-22

"For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his habitation become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it'; and 'His office let another take.' So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us -- one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection."


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Psalms 69:25

May their camp be a desolation, let no one dwell in their tents.


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Psalms 109:8

May his days be few; may another seize his goods!


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Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 77
Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), (Washington, DC: United States Catholic Conference, 1994,1997)

"In order that the full and living Gospel might always be preserved in the Church the apostles left bishops as their successors. They gave them 'their own position of teaching authority.' (Dei Verbum 7 para 2; St. Irenaeus,Adv. Haeres.3,3,1) Indeed, "the apostolic preaching, which is expressed in a special way in the inspired books, was to be preserved in a continuous line of succession until the end of time." (Dei Verbum 8, para 1)


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Acts 14:14

But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out among the multitude, crying,


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Acts 13:2

While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."


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1 Corinthians 15:3-9

For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.


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Matthew 10:1-2)

And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every infirmity. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zeb'edee, and John his brother;


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Mark 3:14

And he appointed twelve, to be with him, and to be sent out to preach


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Luke 6:13

And when it was day, he called his disciples, and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles;


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John 6:70

Jesus answered them, "Did I not choose you, the twelve, and one of you is a devil?"


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Galatians 1:1

Paul an apostle -- not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead --


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Matthew 13:55

Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?


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Matthew 27:56

among whom were Mary Mag'dalene, and Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of the sons of Zeb'edee.


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Mark 15:40

There were also women looking on from afar, among whom were Mary Mag'dalene, and Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salo'me,


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Luke 6:15

and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot,


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James 1:1

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes in the Dispersion: Greeting.


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Matthew 10:3

Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;


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Mark 3:18

Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Cananaean,


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Ephesians 4:11-14

And his gifts were that some should be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some pastors and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the cunning of men, by their craftiness in deceitful wiles.


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Matthew 7:15

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves."


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1 Timothy 3:15

if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.


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Matthew 16:18

"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it."


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Acts 5:34-39

But a Pharisee in the council named Gama'li-el, a teacher of the law, held in honor by all the people, stood up and ordered the men to be put outside for a while. And he said to them, "Men of Israel, take care what you do with these men. For before these days Theu'das arose, giving himself out to be somebody, and a number of men, about four hundred, joined him; but he was slain and all who followed him were dispersed and came to nothing. After him Judas the Galilean arose in the days of the census and drew away some of the people after him; he also perished, and all who followed him were scattered. So in the present case I tell you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this undertaking is of men, it will fail; but if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them. You might even be found opposing God!"


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Matthew 7:24-27

"Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."


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Matthew 16:18

"And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it."


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Deuteronomy 12:32

"Everything that I command you you shall be careful to do; you shall not add to it or take from it."


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Luke 24:44

Then he said to them, "These are my words which I spoke to you, while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and the prophets and the psalms must be fulfilled."


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Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 702

From the beginning until "the fullness of time," the joint mission of the Father's Word and Spirit remains hidden, but it is at work. God's Spirit prepares for the time of the Messiah. Neither is fully revealed but both are already promised, to be watched for and welcomed at their manifestation. So, for this reason, when the Church reads the Old Testament, she searches there for what the Spirit, "who has spoken through the prophets," wants to tell us about Christ.

By "prophets" the faith of the Church here understands all whom the Holy Spirit inspired in the composition of the sacred books, both of the Old and the New Testaments. Jewish tradition distinguishes first the Law (the five first books or Pentateuch), then the Prophets (our historical and prophetic books) and finally the Writings (especially the wisdom literature, in particular the Psalms).


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Galatians 4:4

But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law,


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3 Nephi 12:1

And it came to pass that when Jesus had spoken these words unto Nephi, and to those who had been called, (now the number of them who had been called, and received power and authority to baptize, was twelve) and behold, he stretched forth his hand unto the multitude, and cried unto them, saying: Blessed are ye if ye shall give heed unto the words of these twelve whom I have chosen from among you to minister unto you, and to be your servants; and unto them I have given power that they may baptize you with water; and after that ye are baptized with water, behold, I will baptize you with fire and with the Holy Ghost; therefore blessed are ye if ye shall believe in me and be baptized, after that ye have seen me and know that I am.


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Amos 8:13-14

"In that day the fair virgins and the young men shall faint for thirst. Those who swear by Ash'imah of Sama'ria, and say, `As thy god lives, O Dan,' and, `As the way of Beer-sheba lives,' they shall fall, and never rise again."


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2 Timothy 3:1-5

But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of stress. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, inhuman, implacable, slanderers, profligates, fierce, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, holding the form of religion but denying the power of it. Avoid such people.


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1 Timothy 4:1-4

Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by giving heed to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, through the pretensions of liars whose consciences are seared, who forbid marriage and enjoin abstinence from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving;


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3 John 1-8

The elder to the beloved Ga'ius, whom I love in the truth. The elder to the beloved Ga'ius, whom I love in the truth. Beloved, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in health; I know that it is well with your soul. For I greatly rejoiced when some of the brethren arrived and testified to the truth of your life, as indeed you do follow the truth. No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth. Beloved, it is a loyal thing you do when you render any service to the brethren, especially to strangers, who have testified to your love before the church. You will do well to send them on their journey as befits God's service. For they have set out for his sake and have accepted nothing from the heathen. So we ought to support such men, that we may be fellow workers in the truth.


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Acts 3:20-21

and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.


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1 Peter 4:7

The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers.


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1 Peter 4:12,17

12. Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal which comes upon you to prove you, as though something strange were happening to you.

17. For the time has come for judgment to begin with the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel of God?


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2 Peter 1:3

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence,


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2 Peter 3:8

But do not ignore this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.


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Acts 3:15

and killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this we are witnesses.


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1 Peter 4:7-11

The end of all things is at hand; therefore keep sane and sober for your prayers. Above all hold unfailing your love for one another, since love covers a multitude of sins. Practice hospitality ungrudgingly to one another. As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God; whoever renders service, as one who renders it by the strength which God supplies; in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.


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Psalm 90:4

For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night.


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Hebrews 9:27

And just as it is appointed for men to die once, and after that comes judgment,


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Matthew 25:31-46

"When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. Then the King will say to those at his right hand, 'Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer him, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?' And the King will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.' Then he will say to those at his left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.' Then they also will answer, 'Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?' Then he will answer them, 'Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.' And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."


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Mark 13:32

"But of that day or that hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father."


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Matthew 17:3-13

And behold, there appeared to them Moses and Eli'jah, talking with him. And Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, it is well that we are here; if you wish, I will make three booths here, one for you and one for Moses and one for Eli'jah." He was still speaking, when lo, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and a voice from the cloud said, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." When the disciples heard this, they fell on their faces, and were filled with awe. But Jesus came and touched them, saying, "Rise, and have no fear." And when they lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only. And as they were coming down the mountain, Jesus commanded them, "Tell no one the vision, until the Son of man is raised from the dead." And the disciples asked him, "Then why do the scribes say that first Eli'jah must come?" He replied, "Eli'jah does come, and he is to restore all things; but I tell you that Eli'jah has already come, and they did not know him, but did to him whatever they pleased. So also the Son of man will suffer at their hands." Then the disciples understood that he was speaking to them of John the Baptist.


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Luke 1:17

"and he will go before him in the spirit and power of Eli'jah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared."


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Malachi 4:5

"Behold, I will send you Eli'jah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes."


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Revelation 14:6

Then I saw another angel flying in midheaven, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and tongue and people;


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Revelation 14:7

and he said with a loud voice, "Fear God and give him glory, for the hour of his judgment has come; and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the fountains of water."


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Galatians 1:6-8

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and turning to a different gospel -- not that there is another gospel, but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be accursed.


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Doctrine and Covenants 93:29

Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be.


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Genesis 1:1

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.


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2 Maccabees 7:28

I beseech you, my child, to look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being.


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Romans 4:17

as it is written, "I have made you the father of many nations" -- in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist.


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Catechism of the Catholic Church para 290-292

"In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth": three things are affirmed in these first words of Scripture: the eternal God gave a beginning to all that exists outside of himself; he alone is Creator (the verb "create" - Hebrew bara- always has God for its subject). The totality of what exists (expressed by the formula "the heavens and the earth") depends on the One who gives it being.

"In the beginning was the Word ... and the Word was God ... all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made." The New Testament reveals that God created everything by the eternal Word, his beloved Son. In him "all things were created, in heaven and on earth ... all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together." The Church's faith likewise confesses the creative action of the Holy Spirit, the "giver of life," "the Creator Spirit" ("Veni, Creator Spiritus"), the "source of every good."

The Old Testament suggests and the New Covenant reveals the creative action of the Son and the Spirit, inseparably one with that of the Father. This creative cooperation is clearly affirmed in the Church's rule of faith: "There exists but one God ... he is the Father, God, the Creator, the author, the giver of order. He made all things by himself, that is, by his Word and by his Wisdom," "by the Son and the Spirit" who, so to speak, are "his hands." Creation is the common work of the Holy Trinity.


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Catechism of the Catholic Church para 296-298

We believe that God needs no pre-existent thing or any help in order to create, nor is creation any sort of necessary emanation from the divine substance. God creates freely "out of nothing":

    If God had drawn the world from pre-existent matter, what would be so extraordinary in that? A human artisan makes from a given material whatever he wants, while God shows his power by starting from nothing to make all he wants.
Scripture bears witness to faith in creation "out of nothing" as a truth full of promise and hope. Thus the mother of seven sons encourages them for martyrdom:
    I do not know how you came into being in my womb. It was not I who gave you life and breath, nor I who set in order the elements within each of you. Therefore the Creator of the world, who shaped the beginning of man and devised the origin of all things, will in his mercy give life and breath back to you again, since you now forget yourselves for the sake of his laws .... Look at the heaven and the earth and see everything that is in them, and recognize that God did not make them out of things that existed. Thus also mankind comes into being. (2 Maccabees 7:22-23,28)
Since God could create everything out of nothing, he can also, through the Holy Spirit, give spiritual life to sinners by creating a pure heart in them and bodily life to the dead through the Resurrection. God "gives life to the dead and calls into existence the things that do not exist." And since God was able to make light shine in darkness by his Word, he can also give the light of faith to those who do not yet know him.


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Acts 17:28

for 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your poets have said, 'For we are indeed his offspring.'


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Acts 17:22-28

So Paul, standing in the middle of the Are-op'agus, said: "Men of Athens, I perceive that in every way you are very religious. For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, 'To an unknown god.' What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in shrines made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all men life and breath and everything. And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him. Yet he is not far from each one of us, for 'In him we live and move and have our being'; as even some of your poets have said, 'For we are indeed his offspring.' "


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Acts 17:29-34

"Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the Deity is like gold, or silver, or stone, a representation by the art and imagination of man. The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all men everywhere to repent, because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed, and of this he has given assurance to all men by raising him from the dead." Now when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said, "We will hear you again about this." So Paul went out from among them. But some men joined him and believed, among them Dionys'ius the Are-op'agite and a woman named Dam'aris and others with them.


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Romans 8:14-17

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.


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Romans 8:9

But you are not in the flesh, you are in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Any one who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.


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Moses 6:57

Wherefore teach it unto your children, that all men, everywhere, must repent, or they can in nowise inherit the kingdom of God, for no unclean thing can dwell there, or dwell in his presence; for, in the language of Adam, Man of Holiness is his name, and the name of his Only Begotten is the Son of Man, even Jesus Christ, a righteous Judge, who shall come in the meridian of time.


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Luke 1:28-35

And he came to her and said, "Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!" But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end." And Mary said to the angel, "How shall this be, since I have no husband?" And the angel said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God."


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John 4:24

"God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth."


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John 4:1-26

Now when the Lord knew that the Pharisees had heard that Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (although Jesus himself did not baptize, but only his disciples), he left Judea and departed again to Galilee. He had to pass through Samar'ia. So he came to a city of Samar'ia, called Sy'char, near the field that Jacob gave to his son Joseph. Jacob's well was there, and so Jesus, wearied as he was with his journey, sat down beside the well. It was about the sixth hour. There came a woman of Samar'ia to draw water. Jesus said to her, "Give me a drink." For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food. The Samaritan woman said to him, "How is it that you, a Jew, ask a drink of me, a woman of Samar'ia?" For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans. Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water." The woman said to him, "Sir, you have nothing to draw with, and the well is deep; where do you get that living water? Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well, and drank from it himself, and his sons, and his cattle?" Jesus said to her, "Every one who drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life." The woman said to him, "Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw." Jesus said to her, "Go, call your husband, and come here." The woman answered him, "I have no husband." Jesus said to her, "You are right in saying, 'I have no husband'; for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband; this you said truly." The woman said to him, "Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshiped on this mountain; and you say that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship." Jesus said to her, "Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for such the Father seeks to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth." The woman said to him, "I know that Messiah is coming (he who is called Christ); when he comes, he will show us all things." Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am he."


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Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 370.

In no way is God in man's image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective "perfections" of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband.


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Psalms 41:13

Blessed be the LORD, the God of Israel, from everlasting to everlasting! Amen and Amen.


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Matthew 6:9-13

Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; And forgive us our debts, As we also have forgiven our debtors; And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.


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Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 42

God transcends all creatures. We must therefore continually purify our language of everything in it that is limited, image-bound or imperfect, if we are not to confuse our image of God - "the inexpressible, the incomprehensible, the invisible, the ungraspable" -with our human representations. Our human words always fall short of the mystery of God.


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Job 36:26

Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable.


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Psalms 145:3

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.


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Wisdom 11:23

But thou art merciful to all, for thou canst do all things, and thou dost overlook men's sins, that they may repent.


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Psalms 90:2

Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting thou art God.


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Psalms 102:25

Of old thou didst lay the foundation of the earth, and the heavens are the work of thy hands.


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Isaiah 57:15

For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite."


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Daniel 7:14

And to him was given dominion and glory and kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.


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Numbers 23:19

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should repent. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfil it?


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Psalms 102:26

They will perish, but thou dost endure; they will all wear out like a garment. Thou changest them like raiment, and they pass away;


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Malachi 3:6

"For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O sons of Jacob, are not consumed.


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2 Chronicles 16:9

"For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show his might in behalf of those whose heart is blameless toward him. You have done foolishly in this; for from now on you will have wars."


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Job 21:22

Will any teach God knowledge, seeing that he judges those that are on high?


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Job 28:24

For he looks to the ends of the earth, and sees everything under the heavens.


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Job 34:21

"For his eyes are upon the ways of a man, and he sees all his steps."


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Psalms 139:1-6

O LORD, thou hast searched me and known me!
Thou knowest when I sit down and when I rise up; thou discernest my thoughts from afar.
Thou searchest out my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.
Even before a word is on my tongue, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether.
Thou dost beset me behind and before, and layest thy hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain it.


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Psalms 139:16

Thy eyes beheld my unformed substance; in thy book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.


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Proverbs 16:2

All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the LORD weighs the spirit.


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Sirach 39:20

From everlasting to everlasting he beholds them, and nothing is marvelous to him.


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Genesis 17:1

When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram, and said to him, "I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless."


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Genesis 35:11

And God said to him, "I am God Almighty: be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall come from you, and kings shall spring from you."


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Exodus 6:3

I appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, as God Almighty, but by my name the LORD I did not make myself known to them.


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Ruth 1:20-21

She said to them, "Do not call me Na'omi, call me Mara, for the Almighty has dealt very bitterly with me. I went away full, and the LORD has brought me back empty. Why call me Na'omi, when the LORD has afflicted me and the Almighty has brought calamity upon me?"


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Job 6:14

"He who withholds kindness from a friend forsakes the fear of the Almighty."


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Job 22:17

They said to God, 'Depart from us,' and 'What can the Almighty do to us?'


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Psalms 91:1

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High, who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,


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Isaiah 13:6

Wail, for the day of the LORD is near; as destruction from the Almighty it will come!


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Ezekiel 10:5

And the sound of the wings of the cherubim was heard as far as the outer court, like the voice of God Almighty when he speaks.


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Judith 8:13

You are putting the Lord Almighty to the test -- but you will never know anything!


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Wisdom 7:25

For she is a breath of the power of God, and a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty; therefore nothing defiled gains entrance into her.


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Isaiah 44:6

Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: "I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god."


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Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 212

Over the centuries, Israel's faith was able to manifest and deepen realization of the riches contained in the revelation of the divine name. God is unique; there are no other gods besides him. He transcends the world and history. He made heaven and earth: "They will perish, but you endure; they will all wear out like a garment ... but you are the same, and your years have no end." (Psalms 102:26-27) In God "there is no variation or shadow due to change." (James 1:17) God is "He who Is," from everlasting to everlasting, and as such remains ever faithful to himself and to his promises.


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Deuteronomy 32:6

Do you thus requite the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you?


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Malachi 2:10

Have we not all one father? Has not one God created us? Why then are we faithless to one another, profaning the covenant of our fathers?


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Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 238-239

Many religions invoke God as "Father." The deity is often considered the "father of gods and of men." In Israel, God is called "Father" inasmuch as he is Creator of the world. (Deuteronomy 32:6; Malachi 2:10) Even more, God is Father because of the covenant and the gift of the law to Israel, "his first-born son." (Exodus 4:22) God is also called the Father of the king of Israel. Most especially he is "the Father of the poor," of the orphaned and the widowed, who are under his loving protection. (2 Samuel 7:14; Psalms 68:6)

By calling God "Father," the language of faith indicates two main things: that God is the first origin of everything and transcendent authority; and that he is at the same time goodness and loving care for all his children. God's parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood, (Isaiah 66:13; Psalms 131:2) which emphasizes God's immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature. The language of faith thus draws on the human experience of parents, who are in a way the first representatives of God for man. But this experience also tells us that human parents are fallible and can disfigure the face of fatherhood and motherhood. We ought therefore to recall that God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard: (Psalms 27:10; Ephesians 3:14; Isaiah 49:15) no one is father as God is Father.


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Psalms 8

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth! Thou whose glory above the heavens is chanted
by the mouth of babes and infants, thou hast founded a bulwark because of thy foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
When I look at thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars which thou hast established;
what is man that thou art mindful of him, and the son of man that thou dost care for him?
Yet thou hast made him little less than God, and dost crown him with glory and honor.
Thou hast given him dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet,
all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the sea.
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is thy name in all the earth!


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Sirach 43:27-30

Though we speak much we cannot reach the end, and the sum of our words is: "He is the all." Where shall we find strength to praise him? For he is greater than all his works. Terrible is the Lord and very great, and marvelous is his power. When you praise the Lord, exalt him as much as you can; for he will surpass even that. When you exalt him, put forth all your strength, and do not grow weary, for you cannot praise him enough.


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Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 300

God is infinitely greater than all his works: "You have set your glory above the heavens." (Psalms 8:2; Sirach 43:28) Indeed, God's "greatness is unsearchable." (Psalms 145:3) But because he is the free and sovereign Creator, the first cause of all that exists, God is present to his creatures' inmost being: "In him we live and move and have our being." (Acts 17:28) In the words of St. Augustine, God is "higher than my highest and more inward than my innermost self." (St. Augustine, Conf. 3, 6, 11: PL. 32, 688.)


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Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 1028

Because of his transcendence, God cannot be seen as he is, unless he himself opens up his mystery to man's immediate contemplation and gives him the capacity for it. The Church calls this contemplation of God in his heavenly glory "the beatific vision":

    How great will your glory and happiness be, to be allowed to see God, to be honored with sharing the joy of salvation and eternal light with Christ your Lord and God, ... to delight in the joy of immortality in the Kingdom of heaven with the righteous and God's friends. (St. Cyprian, Ep. 58, 10,1: CSEL 3/2, 665.)


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1 Corinthians 8:1-13

Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that "all of us possess knowledge." "Knowledge" puffs up, but love builds up. If any one imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know. But if one loves God, one is known by him. Hence, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that "an idol has no real existence," and that "there is no God but one." For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth -- as indeed there are many "gods" and many "lords" -- yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through being hitherto accustomed to idols, eat food as really offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. Only take care lest this liberty of yours somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if any one sees you, a man of knowledge, at table in an idol's temple, might he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? And so by your knowledge this weak man is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died. Thus, sinning against your brethren and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is a cause of my brother's falling, I will never eat meat, lest I cause my brother to fall.


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John 1:3

all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.


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Abraham 4:1-31

1 And then the Lord said: Let us go down. And they went down at the beginning, and they, that is the Gods, organized and formed the heavens and the earth.
2 And the earth, after it was formed, was empty and desolate, because they had not formed anything but the earth; and darkness reigned upon the face of the deep, and the Spirit of the Gods was brooding upon the face of the waters.
3 And they (the Gods) said: Let there be light; and there was light.
4 And they (the Gods) comprehended the light, for it was bright; and they divided the light, or caused it to be divided, from the darkness.
5 And the Gods called the light Day, and the darkness they called Night. And it came to pass that from the evening until morning they called night; and from the morning until the evening they called day; and this was the first, or the beginning, of that which they called day and night.
6 And the Gods also said: Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and it shall divide the waters from the waters.
7 And the Gods ordered the expanse, so that it divided the waters which were under the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so, even as they ordered.
8 And the Gods called the expanse, Heaven. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and this was the second time that they called night and day.
9 And the Gods ordered, saying: Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the earth come up dry; and it was so as they ordered;
10 And the Gods pronounced the dry land, Earth; and the gathering together of the waters, pronounced they, Great Waters; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed.
11 And the Gods said: Let us prepare the earth to bring forth grass; the herb yielding seed; the fruit tree yielding fruit, after his kind, whose seed in itself yieldeth its own likeness upon the earth; and it was so, even as they ordered.
12 And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth grass from its own seed, and the herb to bring forth herb from its own seed, yielding seed after his kind; and the earth to bring forth the tree from its own seed, yielding fruit, whose seed could only bring forth the same in itself, after his kind; and the Gods saw that they were obeyed.
13 And it came to pass that they numbered the days; from the evening until the morning they called night; and it came to pass, from the morning until the evening they called day; and it was the third time.
14 And the Gods organized the lights in the expanse of the heaven, and caused them to divide the day from the night; and organized them to be for signs and for seasons, and for days and for years;
15 And organized them to be for lights in the expanse of the heaven to give light upon the earth; and it was so.
16 And the Gods organized the two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; with the lesser light they set the stars also;
17 And the Gods set them in the expanse of the heavens, to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to cause to divide the light from the darkness.
18 And the Gods watched those things which they had ordered until they obeyed.
19 And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that it was night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that it was day; and it was the fourth time.
20 And the Gods said: Let us prepare the waters to bring forth abundantly the moving creatures that have life; and the fowl, that they may fly above the earth in the open expanse of heaven.
21 And the Gods prepared the waters that they might bring forth great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters were to bring forth abundantly after their kind; and every winged fowl after their kind. And the Gods saw that they would be obeyed, and that their plan was good.
22 And the Gods said: We will bless them, and cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas or great waters; and cause the fowl to multiply in the earth.
23 And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning that they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and it was the fifth time.
24 And the Gods prepared the earth to bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind; and it was so, as they had said.
25 And the Gods organized the earth to bring forth the beasts after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after its kind; and the Gods saw they would obey.
26 And the Gods took counsel among themselves and said: Let us go down and form man in our image, after our likeness; and we will give them dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So the Gods went down to organize man in their own image, in the image of the Gods to form they him, male and female to form they them.
28 And the Gods said: We will bless them. And the Gods said: We will cause them to be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it, and to have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
29 And the Gods said: Behold, we will give them every herb bearing seed that shall come upon the face of all the earth, and every tree which shall have fruit upon it; yea, the fruit of the tree yielding seed to them we will give it; it shall be for their meat.
30 And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, behold, we will give them life, and also we will give to them every green herb for meat, and all these things shall be thus organized.
31 And the Gods said: We will do everything that we have said, and organize them; and behold, they shall be very obedient. And it came to pass that it was from evening until morning they called night; and it came to pass that it was from morning until evening that they called day; and they numbered the sixth time.


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Hebrews 1:3

He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature, upholding the universe by his word of power. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,


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Romans 8:14-17

For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the spirit of sonship. When we cry, "Abba! Father!" it is the Spirit himself bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.


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John 14:2

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?


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2 Corinthians 12:2

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven -- whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.


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John 13:36-38

Simon Peter said to him, "Lord, where are you going?" Jesus answered, "Where I am going you cannot follow me now; but you shall follow afterward." Peter said to him, "Lord, why cannot I follow you now? I will lay down my life for you." Jesus answered, "Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the cock will not crow, till you have denied me three times."


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John 14:1-7

"Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And when I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way where I am going." Thomas said to him, "Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?" Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me. If you had known me, you would have known my Father also; henceforth you know him and have seen him."


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1 Corinthians 4:5

Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God.


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1 Corinthians 11:26

For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord's death until he comes.


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1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the archangel's call, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first; then we who are alive, who are left, shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and so we shall always be with the Lord.


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1 John 2:28

And now, little children, abide in him, so that when he appears we may have confidence and not shrink from him in shame at his coming.


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2 Corinthians 12:2

I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven -- whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows.


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Daniel 2:37,44; 4:25,26,31,34; 5:21; 7:27; 11:4

2:37 You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory,
2:44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall its sovereignty be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand for ever;
4:25 that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; you shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven times shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men, and gives it to whom he will.
4:26 And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be sure for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules.
4:31 While the words were still in the king's mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, "O King Nebuchadnez'zar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you,
4:34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnez'zar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives for ever; for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
5:21 he was driven from among men, and his mind was made like that of a beast, and his dwelling was with the wild asses; he was fed grass like an ox, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, until he knew that the Most High God rules the kingdom of men, and sets over it whom he will.
7:27 And the kingdom and the dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.
11:4 And when he has arisen, his kingdom shall be broken and divided toward the four winds of heaven, but not to his posterity, nor according to the dominion with which he ruled; for his kingdom shall be plucked up and go to others besides these.


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Matthew 3:2; 4:17; 5:3,10,19,20; 6:10; 7:21; 8:11; 10:7; 11:11,12; 13:11,24,31,33,44,45,47,52; 16:19, 18:1,3,4,23; 19:12,14,23; 20:1; 22:2; 23:13; 25:1

3:2 "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand."
5:3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
5:10 "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
5:19 Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
5:20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
6:10 Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.
7:21 "Not every one who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."
8:11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,
10:7 And preach as you go, saying, 'The kingdom of heaven is at hand.'
11:11 Truly, I say to you, among those born of women there has risen no one greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.
11:12 From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven has suffered violence, and men of violence take it by force.
13:11 And he answered them, "To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given."
13:24 Another parable he put before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field;"
13:31 Another parable he put before them, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is like a grain of mustard seed which a man took and sowed in his field;"
13:33 He told them another parable. "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven which a woman took and hid in three measures of flour, till it was all leavened."
13:44 "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."
13:45 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls,"
13:47 "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net which was thrown into the sea and gathered fish of every kind;"
13:52 And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."
16:19 "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
18:1 At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
18:3 and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven."
18:4 "Whoever humbles himself like this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven."
18:23 "Therefore the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his servants."
19:12 "For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. He who is able to receive this, let him receive it."
19:14 but Jesus said, "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven."
19:23 And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven."
20:1 "For the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who went out early in the morning to hire laborers for his vineyard."
22:2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son,"
23:13 "But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in."
25:1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom."


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Revelations 11:15, 12:10

11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever and ever."
12:10 And I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, "Now the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God."


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Deuteronomy 11:11

but the land which you are going over to possess is a land of hills and valleys, which drinks water by the rain from heaven,


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Job 35:5

Look at the heavens, and see; and behold the clouds, which are higher than you.


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Isaiah 45:8

"Shower, O heavens, from above, and let the skies rain down righteousness; let the earth open, that salvation may sprout forth, and let it cause righteousness to spring up also; I the LORD have created it."


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Genesis 2:1

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them.


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Jeremiah 4:23

I looked on the earth, and lo, it was waste and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light.


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Joel 2:10

The earth quakes before them, the heavens tremble. The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.


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Psalms 103:19

The LORD has established his throne in the heavens, and his kingdom rules over all.


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Luke 12:33

Sell your possessions, and give alms; provide yourselves with purses that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys.


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Matthew 6:9

Pray then like this: Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.


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John 5:29

and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment.


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1 Corinthians 15:40-42

There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.


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1 Corinthians 15:1-11

Now I would remind you, brethren, in what terms I preached to you the gospel, which you received, in which you stand, by which you are saved, if you hold it fast -- unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unfit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God which is with me. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.


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1 Corinthians 15:12-34

Now if Christ is preached as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. "For God has put all things in subjection under his feet." But when it says, "All things are put in subjection under him," it is plain that he is excepted who put all things under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things under him, that God may be everything to every one. 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? Why am I in peril every hour? I protest, brethren, by my pride in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day! What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, "Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die." Do not be deceived: "Bad company ruins good morals." Come to your right mind, and sin no more. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.


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1 Corinthians 15:35-58

But some one will ask, "How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?" You foolish man! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies. And what you sow is not the body which is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. For not all flesh is alike, but there is one kind for men, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. There are celestial bodies and there are terrestrial bodies; but the glory of the celestial is one, and the glory of the terrestrial is another. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body. Thus it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being"; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit. But it is not the spiritual which is first but the physical, and then the spiritual. The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven. As was the man of dust, so are those who are of the dust; and as is the man of heaven, so are those who are of heaven. Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven. I tell you this, brethren: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Lo! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable nature must put on the imperishable, and this mortal nature must put on immortality. When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: "Death is swallowed up in victory." "O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.


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1 Corinthians 3:8

He who plants and he who waters are equal, and each shall receive his wages according to his labor.


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1 Corinthians 15:41-42

There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable, what is raised is imperishable.


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Matthew 20:2

After agreeing with the laborers for a denarius a day, he sent them into his vineyard.


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Matthew 20:9

And when those hired about the eleventh hour came, each of them received a denarius.


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John 14:2

In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?


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Matthew 20:10

Now when the first came, they thought they would receive more; but each of them also received a denarius.


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Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 1033

We cannot be united with God unless we freely choose to love him. But we cannot love God if we sin gravely against him, against our neighbor or against ourselves: "He who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him." (1 John 3:14-15) Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. (Matthew 25:31-46) To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell."


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1 John 3:14-15

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love abides in death. Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.


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Matthew 22:23-30

The same day Sad'ducees came to him, who say that there is no resurrection; and they asked him a question, saying, "Teacher, Moses said, 'If a man dies, having no children, his brother must marry the widow, and raise up children for his brother. Now there were seven brothers among us; the first married, and died, and having no children left his wife to his brother. So too the second and third, down to the seventh. After them all, the woman died. In the resurrection, therefore, to which of the seven will she be wife? For they all had her." But Jesus answered them, "You are wrong, because you know neither the scriptures nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels in heaven."


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Luke 20:34-36

And Jesus said to them, "The sons of this age marry and are given in marriage; 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."


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Matthew 26:26-28

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."


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Mark 14:22-24

And as they were eating, he took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them, and said, "Take; this is my body." And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it. And he said to them, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many."


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Luke 22:19-20

And he took bread, and when he had given thanks he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me." And likewise the cup after supper, saying, "This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood."


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1 Corinthians 11:24-25

and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, "This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me." In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me."


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John 6:35,48

6:35 Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst."
6:48 I am the bread of life.


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John 6:53-58

So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is food indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me. This is the bread which came down from heaven, not such as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live for ever."


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John 6:33

For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.


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John 7:42

Has not the scripture said that the Christ is descended from David, and comes from Bethlehem, the village where David was?


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Romans 1:3

the gospel concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh


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1 Corinthians 10:16

The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?


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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.


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John 6:56-57

He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats me will live because of me.


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John 1:29

The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!"


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Doctrine and Covenants 27:2

For, behold, I say unto you, that it mattereth not what ye shall eat or what ye shall drink when ye partake of the sacrament, if it so be that ye do it with an eye single to my glory -- remembering unto the Father my body which was laid down for you, and my blood which was shed for the remission of your sins.


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Doctrine and Covenants Section 89

1 A Word of Wisdom, for the benefit of the council of high priests, assembled in Kirtland, and the church, and also the saints in Zion --
2 To be sent greeting; not by commandment or constraint, but by revelation and the word of wisdom, showing forth the order and will of God in the temporal salvation of all saints in the last days --
3 Given for a principle with promise, adapted to the capacity of the weak and the weakest of all saints, who are or can be called saints.
4 Behold, verily, thus saith the Lord unto you: In consequence of evils and designs which do and will exist in the hearts of conspiring men in the last days, I have warned you, and forewarn you, by giving unto you this word of wisdom by revelation --
5 That inasmuch as any man drinketh wine or strong drink among you, behold it is not good, neither meet in the sight of your Father, only in assembling yourselves together to offer up your sacraments before him.
6 And, behold, this should be wine, yea, pure wine of the grape of the vine, of your own make.
7 And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly, but for the washing of your bodies.
8 And again, tobacco is not for the body, neither for the belly, and is not good for man, but is an herb for bruises and all sick cattle, to be used with judgment and skill.
9 And again, hot drinks are not for the body or belly.
10 And again, verily I say unto you, all wholesome herbs God hath ordained for the constitution, nature, and use of man --
11 Every herb in the season thereof, and every fruit in the season thereof; all these to be used with prudence and thanksgiving.
12 Yea, flesh also of beasts and of the fowls of the air, I, the Lord, have ordained for the use of man with thanksgiving; nevertheless they are to be used sparingly;
13 And it is pleasing unto me that they should not be used, only in times of winter, or of cold, or famine.
14 All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth;
15 And these hath God made for the use of man only in times of famine and excess of hunger.
16 All grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground --
17 Nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain.
18 And all saints who remember to keep and do these sayings, walking in obedience to the commandments, shall receive health in their navel and marrow to their bones;
19 And shall find wisdom and great treasures of knowledge, even hidden treasures;
20 And shall run and not be weary, and shall walk and not faint.
21 And I, the Lord, give unto them a promise, that the destroying angel shall pass by them, as the children of Israel, and not slay them. Amen.


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Matthew 26:26

Now as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is my body."


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Matthew 26:27-29

And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, "Drink of it, all of you; for this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins."


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Catechism of the Catholic Church, para 1333-1336

At the heart of the Eucharistic celebration are the bread and wine that, by the words of Christ and the invocation of the Holy Spirit, become Christ's Body and Blood. Faithful to the Lord's command the Church continues to do, in his memory and until his glorious return, what he did on the eve of his Passion: "He took bread...." "He took the cup filled with wine.... " The signs of bread and wine become, in a way surpassing understanding, the Body and Blood of Christ; they continue also to signify the goodness of creation. Thus in the Offertory we give thanks to the Creator for bread and wine, fruit of the "work of human hands," but above all as "fruit of the earth" and "of the vine" - gifts of the Creator. The Church sees in the gesture of the king-priest Melchizedek, who "brought out bread and wine," a prefiguring of her own offering.

In the Old Covenant bread and wine were offered in sacrifice among the first fruits of the earth as a sign of grateful acknowledgment to the Creator. But they also received a new significance in the context of the Exodus: the unleavened bread that Israel eats every year at Passover commemorates the haste of the departure that liberated them from Egypt; the remembrance of the manna in the desert will always recall to Israel that it lives by the bread of the Word of God; their daily bread is the fruit of the promised land, the pledge of God's faithfulness to his promises. The "cup of blessing" at the end of the Jewish Passover meal adds to the festive joy of wine an eschatological dimension: the messianic expectation of the rebuilding of Jerusalem. When Jesus instituted the Eucharist, he gave a new and definitive meaning to the blessing of the bread and the cup.

The miracles of the multiplication of the loaves, when the Lord says the blessing, breaks and distributes the loaves through his disciples to feed the multitude, prefigure the superabundance of this unique bread of his Eucharist. The sign of water turned into wine at Cana already announces the Hour of Jesus' glorification. It makes manifest the fulfillment of the wedding feast in the Father's kingdom, where the faithful will drink the new wine that has become the Blood of Christ.

The first announcement of the Eucharist divided the disciples, just as the announcement of the Passion scandalized them: "This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?" The Eucharist and the Cross are stumbling blocks. It is the same mystery and it never ceases to be an occasion of division. "Will you also go away?": the Lord's question echoes through the ages, as a loving invitation to discover that only he has "the words of eternal life" and that to receive in, faith the gift of his Eucharist is to receive the Lord himself.


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Genesis 3:14-15

The LORD God said to the serpent, "Because you have done this, cursed are you above all cattle, and above all wild animals; upon your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel."


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1 Corinthians 15:22

For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.


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Matthew 16:18-19

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.


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Matthew 7:24-27

"Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it."


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Matthew 16:18

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it.


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Matthew 18:15-18

"If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."


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Matthew 28:19-20

"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age."


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1 Timothy 3:15

if I am delayed, you may know how one ought to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and bulwark of the truth.


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Acts 1:20-26

"For it is written in the book of Psalms, 'Let his habitation become desolate, and let there be no one to live in it'; and 'His office let another take.' So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us -- one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection." And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsab'bas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthi'as. And they prayed and said, "Lord, who knowest the hearts of all men, show which one of these two thou hast chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside, to go to his own place." And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthi'as; and he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.


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1 Peter 3:15

but in your hearts reverence Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to make a defense to any one who calls you to account for the hope that is in you, yet do it with gentleness and reverence;


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