Christians speaking to the dead

trueseek1's picture

Had never thought of it this way, until I found a book on the shelf expounding on one of the well known passages of the Holy Scriptures: The Transfiguration passage. Jesus has a live visit from Moses and Elijah and in the presence of the other fallible men, a couple of apostles, he enters into conversation with these two "dead saints". The author also highlighted another instance when God rose the dead and they went into the cities to show themselves as alive in Christ. I had read these passages many times before, and heard countless evangelical sermons on them, but in all my previous readings of the last couple of hundred years of evangelical commentaries, I had never heard of the reality that these visitations represented. Does anyone know how did the faithful early Church fathers who honored God, in the nonheretical Church, view these passages?

Also, the author differentiated clearly between using a medium to reach the dead as Saul did to talk to Samuel, and both these passages, with the understanding that Christ revealed clearly that it is not sinful to have a conversation with a live saint, but evil if one tries to use mediums as the ungodly do.

Thanks for all insights on these passages.

michael_legna's picture

You clearly are judging before understanding

ML said -
" and since the saints in heaven are surely righteous just think how effective their prayers are."

Mike said -
I think that reasoning is conjecture. It isn't demonstrated by any of the apostles or Jesus.

What part do you think is conjecture? That the saints in heaven are righteous? Or that they pray to God? Or do you question scripture when it says the prayers of a righteous man are effectual? Surely every aspect of my conclusion is not conjecture but truth as I know you do not deny any of these three points. Now as to whether the Apostles demonstrated this is mute unless you restrict yourself to doing only those thing found in scripture and NOTHING else, but of course I have shown that idea to be wrong several times before (most notably through the observance by almost all Christian denominations of the sacrament of matrimony). Even without that we know that the Apostles honored the Saints of the Old Testament when Peter suggested building the three tabernacles for Jesus, Moses and Elijah. (Mk 9:5)

Mike said -
There is no chance for us on terra firma to have "communion of the saints" that are in glory because they cannot communicate with us.

Prove this personal claim of yours from scripture. God can use His vessels of honor anyway He wants to, as He proved when He sent Moses and Elijah to visit Jesus. Besides they do not have to communicate with us to hear our requests to them to pray for us.

Mike said -
Also, that teaching isn't universally believed by the Body of Christ, the Church of the Lord Jesus composed of redeemed christians.

What does that prove – only that some are right and some are wrong. You certainly don’t want to make an appeal to the majority on this one because the vast majority of the Church on earth does indeed believe this.

Mike said -
Nevertheless ... some are "betting the ranch" on it being true so I would respectfully ask the question below ...

No one is betting the ranch on this. Do you really want to claim this doctrine (even if mistakenly believed) is a salvation issue? Do you think if you got this wrong and I am right about it that you have no chance to be saved? Because I don’t think that about this issue or about your position on it. If you believe that about Catholics position on this issue then I believe you are trying to make decisions way out of your pay grade.

Mike said -
Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

We all know how God loves faith and its demonstration therof.

Do the saints in heaven have a need for faith or a demonstration therof seeing as how they are already there?

Can they do anything else but demonstrate their faith? Like the 24 elders in Rev 4:10.

Mike said -
What would please God more, I wonder?

a saint praying a prayer that required great faith or a saint that praying a prayer that required little or no faith.

So are you implying that God is less pleased by the worship offered to Him from the Saints in heaven than He is by the worship offered to Him by us who have not seen Him yet? Must take all the joy out of heaven if you are right.

Mike said -
When a saint on earth prays to a saint in glory, is the faith exercised
1.towards the ability of the saint to hear the prayer?

2.for the ability of the saint to exercise their faith in God?

We have faith in those, but that faith does not diminish our ability to have faith in God acting through them because faith is not something that is lost as it is exercised, it is in fact strengthened by its exercise.

Mike said -
ML pretty well summed it up in many other threads and posts that you cannot know in an absolute sense the state of dead souls.

If our faith isn't based on absolutes (His Word), then all else is assumption, as you have stated yourself.

Our faith is based on His Word, just not on your interpretation of His Word (since your interpretation is definitely NOT an absolute). Please show me where I said any of this was an assumption and is not the teachings of the Church, the ground and pillar of truth. I don’t expect you to accept my conclusions, but I do expect you not to misrepresent my position by claiming I Have admitted it to be based on assumptions.

Maria said,
We (Catholics) believe that Mary is body and soul in heaven because the Lord would not let His Holy Mother experience decay.

Mike asks,
Re: Mary's body.
Is that an assumption? (no pun intended)

No, it is based on an ex cathedra statement of the leadership of the Church, who has the authority to bind and loose on earth as in heaven, so it carries the same level of authority as the instructions from the Council of Jerusalem. Do you think the hearers of those directives asked if they were merely assumptions?

Mike said -
I know that you believe dearly about that but there are many christians that don't adhere to that belief, so would it be sinful to believe otherwise
(about her body not seeing decay) ...

Why would it be sinful to believe otherwise? And which way is the otherwise, since there are many who believe on either side – are we to go with the majority again, because if we are then once again the vast majority of Christians are on the opposite side of this argument from you.

ML said in another post,
Re:book of Life.. Is your name in it?

I think so and I believe so, but I cannot be sure in an absolute sense, as men can never know anything in an absolute sense.

ML also said,
- and since the saints in heaven are surely righteous just think how effective their prayers are.

Mike says,
Anything that the Word of God says is absolute.

Yes, and nothing I believe is contrary to what God says, only to your interpretation of parts of God’s word taken in isolation and out of context.

Mike said -
Jesus died, rose again and is sitting at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us. Absolutely!

Yes, and we still have to respond to His intercession and pick up our cross daily and follow Him or else we are not worthy and are not saved.

Mike said -
All else (prayers to St. Jude or St. Francis) is conjecture and assumption, and not "worth betting the ranch on" .....

What is your basis for this, since I have provided scriptural support for these ideas and rebutted your alternative interpretations of them.