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.

trueseek1's picture

confirmation of Christians in Christ presence praying for us

Today, I found an amazing document written by a bishop/pastor of the Syrian Church on his way to martyrdom for Christ. While in chains for the Gospel and headed to be murdered by world leaders, he was being minstered to by Polycarp (Apostle John's disciple and trusted pastor/bishop of the church in smyrna) and several other faithful believers and he begins writing letters to several churches.

His name is Ignatius, 3rd bishop of Antioch after Apostle Peter. The quote is from one of the most trusted sources of early christian faithful defenders of the true faith as passed to us by God's apostles. It is found in a letter written to the church in a city called Tralles.

The quote: "Love one another, all of you, with a heart above all divisions. My spirit offers itself on your behalf, not only now but also when I shall be stand in the presence of God." (found at end of short letter, marked as chapt. 13)

This pastor's humility in the midst of special visions of the heavenlies similar to our brother Paul is very inspirational. Here are a few quotes from this letter that reveal his character: "I am the last and least of them (believers in Syria) all" "as much as I yearn for martyrdom, I am not sure that I am worthy of it" "I have great need of humility, that is the prince of this world's undoing" "Even I myself, for all my chains and for all my ability to comprehend celestial secrets and angelic heierarchies and the dispositions of teh heavenly powers, and much else both seen and unseen, am not yet on that account a real disciple, because there is much we must still fall short of..."

I will say that his letters and their continuously being quoted by so many other early trusted believers who defended the ONE Faith in Christ against many heretics who would try to add a little leaven are confirmation also that God's visions have not stopped after God's Word was written down by our Apostle John in Revelations.

The date of this letter is probably between 98-117 a.d., since we know he was martyred during the reign of Emperor Trajan (source- earliest Christian historian, Eusebius History of the church 3.36 quoted in "early christian writings").

Polycarp took extra care to have these letters of Ignatius preserved for the edification of believers everywhere. I have not finished re-reading all the 7 letters yet.

a few extra derivative thoughts- How could Ignatius be praying for us when in Christ's presence if he was unaware of what was going on here on earth in the body of Christ? Some have said that we enter a state of eternal bliss with no knowledge of our families and the church in this world, but I find it less and less likely as I read what Christians obviously taught and believed during the first centuries of the Church. Although this does tell us of Ignatius' prayers for us, it does not emphatically state that we can ask him to pray for us, although it does not seem a great leap to ask other believers to pray for us, whether those on earth, or those already standing in His Wonderful and Holy Presence, free from the temptations of this world. This practice does seem to have been a regular part of Christian's early practice throughout the world and not just in the church under roman catholic bishop.

Appreciate any thoughts on why majority of us believers in the nonRoman church do not ask for prayers from saints who are living in Christ's presence now?

humbly in His Service

humbly in Christ,