Did the Catholic Church Change the Ten Commandments?

April 28, 2013 | 22 comments

My mother recently sent me an email from a friend who was being challenged by an Evangelical to re-consider her Catholicism. He claimed the Catholic Church had perniciously omitted what he referred to as the second commandment—“You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth” (Exodus 20:4)—in order to keep the Catholic faithful in darkness as to the truth that they should not have statues in their churches.

Despite appearances, we know Exodus 20 is not a prohibition against making “any likeness of anything” in a strict sense because we clearly see God either commanding or praising the making of images and statues in multiple biblical texts (see Exodus 25:18; Numbers 21:8-9; I Kings 6:23-28, 9:3). Just five chapters after this so-called prohibition against statues, for example, God commands Moses to make statues representing two angels to be placed over the mercy seat of the Ark of the Covenant:

And you shall make two cherubim of gold… The cherubim shall spread out their wings above, overshadowing the mercy seat with their wings, their faces one to another…. And you shall put the mercy seat on the top of the ark… There I will meet with you (Ex. 25:18-22).

There are five key points to be made concerning this common misunderstanding among Protestants as well as many quasi-Christian sects.

1. Exodus 20:4 is part of the first commandment that begins in verse 3 and stretches through part of verse five:

You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself a graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them or serve them.

Verses 3 and 5 make clear that this commandment is not simply condemning making statues; It is condemning making gods that you bow down to or serve. In a word, this first commandment forbids idolatry, i.e., the worship of anything or anyone other than God. The Catholic Church condemns this as well.

2. By lifting out part of the first commandment appearing to prohibit the making of “any likeness of anything,” not only do you have God contradicting himself in later commanding the making of statues, but you also end up making the first two commandments repetitive. They are both essentially condemning idolatry.

3. Though the commandments are said to be “ten” in Exodus 34:28, they are not numbered by the inspired authors of Sacred Scripture. If you count the “you shall nots” along with the two positive commandments of keeping holy the Sabbath and honoring father and mother, you end up with 13 commandments. So the actual numbering of the commandments depends upon which “you shall nots” you lump together as one commandment and which ones you separate. And in the end, which “you shall nots” you lump together depends upon your theology. 

4. We believe the Catholic Church alone has the authority to give to God’s people an authoritative list of the Ten Commandments. And the Catechism of the Catholic Church does exactly that. At least, it gives us a list as a sure norm for us.

5. The problem with creating a second “commandment” where there actually is not one really comes to the fore at the bottom of the list. The common Protestant listing of the Ten Commandments combines coveting your neighbor’s wife, the Catholic ninth commandment, with coveting your neighbor’s property, the Catholic tenth commandment. And really it just can't be any other way because you run out of room. I can’t imagine many women being happy with being equated to property!

Some may argue at this point: “Well, that is what the Old Testament teaches. We're just going with what the inspired author teaches." Are you really? Let’s take a look. Now, it is true that Exodus 20’s version of the 10 commandments appears to place both women and servants in the place of property.

You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his manservant, or his maidservant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

I say it seems because Genesis 1:26-27 does reveal God himself to have said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness… So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” There is an essential equality between male and female revealed even in the Old Testament, though this revelation is not as clear and unambiguous as what we have in the New Testament. Exodus 20 certainly does anything but add to the clarity of the point.

When I say the revelation of this essential equality is not as clear in the Old Testament, we need to understand why this is so. The Old Testament consists of 46 books written over a period of ca. 1500 years, representing a progressive revelation. Hebrews 1:1-2 says, “In many and various ways God spoke of old to our fathers by the prophets.” The Greek word for “many ways” is polumeros, which means “in many portions;” God gave his revelation in piecemeal fashion over the centuries, taking an ancient people right where they were and gradually beginning to reveal more and more truth as they were able to receive it and as he gradually gave them more and more grace to be able to receive it, all the while respecting their freedom. “But when the time had fully come, God sent forth his Son…” (Galatians 4:4) to communicate the fullness of the revelation God willed for his people.

For example, the divorce God permitted in Deut. 24:1-4, he later says “[he] hates” in Malachi 2:16. And when Jesus elevated marriage to the level of sacrament eliminating divorce and remarriage absolutely in Matt. 19:5-6, he explained that this allowance by God through Moses was never intended from the very beginning citing Genesis 2:24, “the two shall become one flesh.” God permitted things early that he would not have ever willed in an antecedent sense as he helped his people to grow much like a parent does not treat a four year-old the same as he would treat a fourteen year-old.

In a similar way, though God revealed the essential equality of man and woman very early in salvation history (Gen. 1:26-27), this revelation was given by God to an ancient people who did not have the same understanding of the essential equality of man and woman we so often take for granted given the fullness of revelation we have enjoyed in the New Covenant for 2,000 years. God did not expect his people to change immediately, nor did he give them the fullness of the revelation that we have in Christ all at once; rather, he helped them along as we’ve said. In fact, we can see this development of understanding even in the Old Testament itself. We cited the earlier version of the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20, but notice the change by the time God gave his people Deuteronomy:

Neither shall you covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, or his manservant, or his maidservant, his ox. Or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

The inspired author of Deuteronomy now makes the distinction between wife and property sharper by using two different Hebrew words for “covet” and “desire” and by only using the word “covet” with regard to the wife. The two separate commandments now become undeniable.

We’ll leave the discussion of the status of the servants for another blog post!

 


Tim Staples is Director of Apologetics and Evangelization here at Catholic Answers, but he was not always Catholic. Tim was raised a Southern Baptist. Although he fell away from the faith of his childhood, Tim came back to faith in Christ during his late teen years through the witness of Christian...

Catholic Answers To Common Objections
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Comments by Catholic.com Members

#1  mark gilbert - Bixby, Oklahoma

When Cathlolics Pray to Mary are they not putting Mary before Jesus? Bible clearly states that we Pray to the Father,,, and once Jesus was risen we are in him so he is our redempter so Pray to the Father in Jesus Name ... I dont see Mary as being in this,,, what does the Catholic church beliefs say

August 23, 2013 at 12:33 pm PST
#2  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

The Catholic Church teaches in agreement with Scripture that there is "one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ" (I Tim. 2:5). However, as members of the body of Christ, Christians can mediate graces in and through Christ because they are in Christ. This is the principle underlying St. Paul's exhortation for all Christians to pray for one another "and for all men" in I Tim. 2:1-2. We can only do so because it is "not [us], but Christ who is in [us]" (Gal. 2:20), who is the first principle or efficient cause of all that we do that has eternal value.
With this as a foundation, we understand that we can pray to our brothers and sister who have gone before us and ask them to pray for us just as we seem them doing in Rev. 5:8 in Scripture. Mary is no different than any other Christian in this respect. So, of course we can pray to her as well. In fact, if "the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" in James 5:16, Mary's prayers would be most powerful among human persons because Mary is the greatest of all.

October 18, 2013 at 3:28 pm PST
#3  meaghan lichon - west seneca, New York

The bible plainly states not to change a word not to add or remove any part of the texts. Not only did the catholic church change the second amendment by omitting it from the ten commandments, it has also changed the forth by changing the Sabbath from Saturday to sunday, and also the tenth by splitting it into two, making up for taking out the second. No one man has the power to wipe away the sins of man but that of the blood of Jesus. We must repent and ask GOD himself for forgiveness for our sins.

I recommend reading the following book:

http://www.reg6.com/

It tells the true story of what is to come of Gods people for not keeping HIS Sabbath holy!!!!

October 27, 2013 at 8:54 am PST
#4  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

The Catholic Church did not, and could not, "change the Sabbath." The Sabbath remains Saturday. The Church simply acknowledges that the Sabbath is no longer binding upon the people of God as St. Paul clearly teaches in Colossians 2:16, referring to it as a mere "shadow." The inspired author of Hebrews uses the same term, "shadows," to describe the law of animal sacrifices that no longer binds Christians as well in Heb. 10:1-4.
If you re-read my post here, I made clear that the Church did not change the commandments, she simply and accurately reflects the true nature of the commandments by not repeating the first commandment twice and by accurately separating the ninth and tenth commandments so that wives are not placed at the same level as property.

October 28, 2013 at 8:11 am PST
#5  Brian Driesenga - Lowell, Michigan

This verse in Colossians refers to the yearly Sabbaths talked about in Leviticus 23. The seventh-day Sabbath was never demoted and should still be followed as a day or rest and remembrance as described in Exodus 20. After all, the verse does say "...Remember the Sabbath day...". This is the only commandment that starts with the word remember. It also says "Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it." The Lord blessed and hallowed (honor as holy) this day. If it was that important, would not Jesus make it a point to specifically say it should no longer be honored? However, Jesus made no mention of the demotion of the Sabbath day. On the contrary, Jesus says in John 14:15 "If you love me, keep my commandments". I think we can all agree that Exodus 20 is laying out the commandments that Jesus is referencing. By not keeping the seventh-day Sabbath, you are not keeping all of the Lord's commandments, wouldn't you agree?

More on this topic can be found at http://www.sabbathtruth.com/

December 13, 2013 at 1:48 pm PST
#6  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Brian,
Actually, Col. 2:16-17 is very clear:
"Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food or drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are only a shadow [Greek: skia] of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ" (Col. 2:16–17).
St. Paul calls the Sabbath and dietary laws “only a shadow.” It is interesting to note that the inspired author of Hebrews uses the same Greek word (skia, or “shadow”) for the Old Covenant sacrifices that are no longer binding on Christians either:
"For since the law has but a shadow [skian] of the good things to come instead of the true form of these realities, it can never, by the same sacrifices which are continually offered year after year, make perfect those who draw near" (Heb. 10:1).
All Christians agree that the sacrifices of the Old Covenant were “shadows” of the one and true sacrifice of Christ. But many, like you, Brian, do not make a similar connection and see that the Old Covenant Sabbath is also a shadow of its true fulfillment in the New Covenant.
Does this mean that the third commandment itself is a mere shadow? By no means! The Church teaches, in agreement with our Lord and Scripture: we must keep the Ten Commandments (see Matt. 19:17; I Cor. 7:19).
"Since they express man’s fundamental duties toward God and toward his neighbor, the Ten Commandments reveal, in their primordial content, grave obligations. They are fundamentally immutable, and they oblige always and everywhere. No one can dispense from them. The Ten Commandments are engraved by God in the human heart" (CCC 2072).
The third commandment is “fundamentally immutable” because it is one of the Ten Commandments, which Jesus said we must follow to attain everlasting life. Thus, it follows, we must keep all ten of them in order to make it to heaven. But since Scripture also tells us that the Sabbath is not binding, we need to ask the question: What is it about the third commandment that is immutable, and what is it that is accidental and therefore changeable?
When we examine again Colossians 2:16–17, we discover St. Paul using the same division of “festivals” (yearly holy days), “new moons” (monthly holy days) and “Sabbaths” (the Saturday obligation) the Old Testament uses when referencing the Jewish holy days and Saturday Sabbath. For example:
"And they shall stand every morning, thanking and praising the Lord, and likewise at evening, and whenever burnt offerings are offered to the Lord on sabbaths, new moons, and feast days, according to the number required of them, continually before the Lord" (1 Chr. 23:30–31; Cf. II Chr. 2:4; 8:12-13; 31:3, etc.).
Clearly, along with the yearly and monthly holydays, the Sabbath is included in what St. Paul calls a mere “shadow.” However, St. Paul is not saying—and does not say—that Christians do not have to keep the third commandment. If we look at the context, we see that Paul was dealing with Judaizers, in Col. 2, who were telling Gentile Christians they had to be circumcised and keep the Old Covenant law (which has passed away)—including the Jewish Sabbaths and holydays—in order to be saved. That's the context, and that is why we see Christians meeting "on the first day of week," or, "the Lord's Day," in the New Testament (Acts 20:7; I Cor. 16:1-2; Rev. 1:10). St. Paul was speaking specifically of the Jewish Sabbath that has passed away in Christ.

December 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm PST
#7  Karen Elliott - Waxahachie, TEXAS, Texas

Verses 3 and 5 make clear that this commandment is not simply condemning making statues; It is condemning making gods that you bow down to or serve. In a word, this first commandment forbids idolatry, i.e., the worship of anything or anyone other than God. The Catholic Church condemns this as well.
wor·ship (wûrshp)
n.
1.
a. The reverent love and devotion accorded a deity, an idol, or a sacred object.

b. The ceremonies, prayers, or other religious forms by which this love is expressed.

2. Ardent devotion; adoration.

3. often Worship Chiefly British Used as a form of address for magistrates, mayors, and certain other dignitaries: Your Worship.

v.wor·shiped or wor·shipped, wor·ship·ing or wor·ship·ping, wor·ships

v.tr.
1. To honor and love as a deity.

2. To regard with ardent or adoring esteem or devotion. See Synonyms at revere1.

v.intr.
1. To participate in religious rites of worship.

2. To perform an act of worship.
So tell me Catholics do not worship Saints or Mary and you just lied.

January 12, 2014 at 1:36 pm PST
#8  Karen Elliott - Waxahachie, TEXAS, Texas

http://youtu.be/BhvBGsEI0wE

January 12, 2014 at 5:03 pm PST
#9  Karen Elliott - Waxahachie, TEXAS, Texas

2 Maccabees 12:39 On the next day, as by that time it had become necessary, Judas and his men went to take up the bodies of the fallen and to bring them back to lie with their kinsmen in the sepulchres of their fathers. 40 Then under the tunic of every one of the dead they found sacred tokens of the idols of Jamnia, which the law forbids the Jews to wear. And it became clear to all that this was why these men had fallen. 41 So they all blessed the ways of the Lord, the righteous Judge, who reveals the things that are hidden; 42 and they turned to prayer, beseeching that the sin which had been committed might be wholly blotted out. And the noble Judas exhorted the people to keep themselves free from sin, for they had seen with their own eyes what had happened because of the sin of those who had fallen. 43 He also took up a collection, man by man, to the amount of two thousand drachmas of silver, and sent it to Jerusalem to provide for a sin offering. In doing this he acted very well and honorably, taking account of the resurrection. 44 For if he were not expecting that those who had fallen would rise again, it would have been superfluous and foolish to pray for the dead. 45 But if he was looking to the splendid reward that is laid up for those who fall asleep in godliness, it was a holy and pious thought. Therefore he made atonement for the dead, that they might be delivered from their sin.
Seems to me these men died in the mortal sin of idolitry...
How then does this support PURGATORY? Doesn't mortal sin send people to hell?

January 13, 2014 at 7:17 am PST
#10  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Karen,
Most likely, keeping these little amulets under their cloaks was more akin to the superstition of a baseball player keeping a rabbit's foot in his pocket than it would be to the mortal sin of idolatry. But even if these men did commit some that was grave matter, "[God] alone know the hearts of the children of men" (II Chr. 6:30). God alone knows the level of each man's culpability, so God alone knows whether that level of culpability was actually mortal. Moreover, some of these could have repented before they died. However you slice it, we Catholics (and evidently the Jews as well) believe that we always pray for folks who have died no matter what the outward appearance may be because God's grace can penetrate the darkness, no matter how dark it may be, and bring repentance where there needs to be repentance, and healing where healing is possible.

January 18, 2014 at 8:28 am PST
#11  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

I am a bit confused as to what a Protestant believes is a "graven image." Does this mean we as Catholics can not portray Christ in any pictures or statues? Is it false worship if we do? I would especially like to hear a brief answer from a Protestant minister or any Protestant who is familar with and may be able to answer this question.

March 2, 2014 at 6:49 am PST
#12  Rev Jason Frazier - Katy, Texas

Christopher, I am a Protestant minister, but I can't say I speak for all of them. Here is my response: By "graven image," I interpret that to mean a statue, sculpture, relief, or any physical representation of something that we pray towards.

God did not allow the golden calf because it was something created that was being worshipped. Yet He did allow the Ark of the Covenant, however, because the Ark was not being worshipped; it only served as a representation of His presence.

Protestants generally prohibit statues of animals, saints or Christ in their churches (especially ones that become objects where people would kneel & pray) because we believe the Scripture prohibits this practice. This is along the same vein as not knowing how to accurately pronounce God's covenant name YHWH because the Jewish Rabbis believed if people wrote the name of God, they would worship that name & thus be worshipping a "graven image."

April 17, 2014 at 11:59 am PST
#13  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Hello Rev. Jason,
Your own words betray the contradiction in Protestant theology. "God did not allow the golden calf because it was something created that was being worshipped. Yet He did allow the Ark of the Covenant, however, because the Ark was not being worshipped; it only served as a representation of His presence."

That is good. The key difference being the "worship" part. But then you contradict yourself and say:

"Protestants generally prohibit statues of animals, saints or Christ in their churches (especially ones that become objects where people would kneel & pray) because we believe the Scripture prohibits this practice."

You just said the Scripture does not prohibit this practice because we have the example of the Ark of the Covenant.

Moreover, no Catholic prays to a statue. We pray only to God or to the saint represented. And we adore (or worship) God and God alone. We honor the saints? Why? Because these "only serve as a representation" of God, or of the saint, to use your words.

Scripture condemns idolatry; not having "a statue, sculpture, relief, or any physical representation of something (someone) we pray towards."

April 17, 2014 at 6:20 pm PST
#14  Miguel Rosales - Las Vegas, Nevada

Its funny how Protestants complain about the Catholic Church changing the Bible. When they were the ones who removed books from the Bible. The King James version has books missing such as Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, 1 & 2 Maccabees.

May 4, 2014 at 12:13 pm PST
#15  Kul Dug - Shinagawa, Tokyo

What are the religious relics for? Is there a biblical reason for it?Why are novenas offered to these things? How come people pray to saints so and so instead of praying to And through Jesus? These people end up devotees of the saint and not of God like I was once a devotee of St. Jude Thaddeus. Have you been to any of the feasts of saints or various images like the black nazarene, immaculate conception, infant jesus, etc.? Who do you think is being honored and praised here? When people wipe these images with their handkerchiefs and kiss these works of art, how is God proclaimed the creator of heaven and earth through these? What does the Catholic church do to make sure that the devotees eyes are looking past through these images and straight to God who alone can answer prayers?

May 17, 2014 at 5:53 am PST
#16  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

The biblical reason is that all matter belongs to God and God never ceases performing miracles through matter. Let me give you one good example...

2 KINGS 13:21

Elisha died and was buried. At the time, bands of Moabites used to raid the land each year. Once some people were burying a man, when suddenly they spied such a raiding band. So they cast the dead man into the grave of Elisha, and everyone went off. But when the man came in contact with the bones of Elisha, he came back to life and rose to his feet.

I can not speak for all Catholics, but for me, I feel more of a physical connection to God when in the presence of a holy relic. If God has no problem delivering miracles through relics, such as mentioned in 2 KINGS 13:21, then why should I fear such a belief? When I look at, or touch a relic, I am in complete awe of God, it is always a "Wow" moment of His all powerful nature, not just invisible spiritual nature, but also all physical matter as well. I am blown away by the fact that He shows absolute control over all every single cell, atom or whatever. And I can assure you, when a Christian has this much faith in God, that God can and does use holy relics, that person has a life changing moment, their faith, and the faith of those who witness such miracles increase not ten fold, but a hundred fold, or rather should I say infinitely.

I have a very good reason to believe that God knows the hearts and intentions of everyone who loves to touch or bow down to relics out of reverence. A non Catholic may think it is bizarre and superstitious, but one thing the critics fail to see, and that God does see, is that these little sheep are reaching out to God. God sees and hears their cries, God knows they are longing for that physical connection with their Creator. God knows they may need help, a physical or mental cure, or they just might need a boost in their faith. That is why our awesome all mighty and powerful God flexes His muscles and delivers so many miracles through relics. So for those who have a problem with relics I simply say, RELAX, live a little and enjoy the wonderful works and gifts God has given us and will always give us if we ask. He loves us and that love can be delivered in any shape or form, visible and invisible. What in this world does not belong to God? Right???

One last thing, I happen to have a relic, and it was a miracle that I happen to receive this relic at a critical time in my life, just days after the passing of my father. It brought me much comfort and helped to relieve my grief. The miracle that topped it all off...it happened to be that of my favorite Saint, whom no one but me (and God) had knowledge of...St. Francis de Sales. Out of the thousands upon thousands, or maybe millions, of relics and I end up with that one?! Could that be one of the reasons I absolutely love to explain and defend my faith with so much passion? You bet it is!!! Or did God drop this priceless treasure in my lap as a heavenly gift because I do have so much faith and do love His one, holy, and apostolic Church? That too!!!

Amen, Alleluia, and God Bless you Kul.

May 17, 2014 at 1:14 pm PST
#17  Maria Case - Glen Ellyn, Illinois

To Kal Dug; *love* your question.
I have seen some of what you mention, and I do know that even the Church has debated and warned against your very concerns (I mean they would agree with you in that: these devotions for one could be taken too far for a weaker or ignorant mind; and two, they may give the appearance to outsiders that we are worshiping the Saint in place of Our Lord, which would horrify the Saint!!!). So the Church has spoken on this and said, okay, go ahead with the venerations, but always knowing that we are worshiping *alongside* those Saints to the One True God, Jesus. Jesus honors them, too; doesn't it say that in Revelation? We should do what Jesus does, as far as we can and is appropriate for us. And remember, oftentimes the veneration is so deep because it was that very Saint that led that ****** to Christianity, as with the Virgin of Guadelupe, and Fatima. Mary always points to Jesus: "Do what He tells you."

For me, I think of when Jesus said we have to come into the Kingdom like a child. Believing in miracles requires the faith of a child, and when I hear the miraculous and extraordinary lives of the saints, I am moved by their love for Jesus, and His for them. I am drawn ever closer to the firm knowledge that He really is with us, and that everything He said was true because everything they said and did pointed to Jesus. I love them as brothers in Christ, and I do honor them (not worship them as the One True Eternal Living God). They are like friends at church who are already standing in The Presence of God in His Kingdom. You must have met friends on this side of the threshold that said or did things that made you more convicted in your faith, right? I find them in history, too. And, they are still alive, and more abundantly so.

As far as images, God Himself made us visual beings, and He gave us the gift of art. Most people couldn't read until the Church began teaching reading (Sts. John Bosco & Mama Margarita), and to "street urchins, orphans," no less. So the images in the churches were like books to the uneducated, who were the masses of poor people who came to the churches to find God. And, how could it be sinful for Michaelangelo to use his God given talent for painstaking hours and years to create with great devotion masterpieces that inspired faith in Jesus for centuries? One cannot behold the Pieta and not be stirred to wonder that it might very well all be true. For those who already to believe, it was clearly an act of love for God.

We have paintings of flowers and landscapes to decorate our homes; why not decorate God's house with lovingly made reminders of His friends and of Himself - of His Sacrifice with a crucifix? When I walk into a Catholic church, I know I'm in church, and a reverent mood is easy to fall into (otherwise hard for my Western, harried mind). In a Protestant church, I feel a starkness, like, and I know this is not the Protestant intention, God isn't even allowed to be represented in His own house, and sometimes it seems all for the sake of keeping some schism alive - "We're different from those idol worshiping Catholics!" I mean, no Catholic would ever mistake a painting or statue of Jesus for Jesus Himself, any more than one would mistake a still life painting for the real items portrayed therein; that is utter nonsense. Utter nonsense, and the very notion implies we are all imbeciles. Thomas Aquinas, Polycarp - not imbeciles.

Sometimes the lives of the Saints are called The Third Testament. Their deeds and sacrifices gave me and all future Christians certainty in their hope, when all around for centuries was death and persecution (and still is for many - pray for Nigeria!). And also, like a child, I love a good story, most especially a true one that brings confirmation of God's promises into our own ages. It didn't all end with Jesus in the time He walked the earth; He began it all then, and the Saints we venerate did everything out of complete abandonment to God's Will, and out of love for His Only Son, from Mary and Peter, to Keteri Tekakwitha and Mother Theresa. There is this thread of God's works in His creation that goes directly back to the time Jesus did walk on earth. That galvanizes faith with fact for me, and makes me very grateful to Him and His Saints. They help to give me courage to stand up for the faith I have; I hope I never have to suffer like so many of them, but if it came to that, remembering their faith and courage (like Perpetua!), will certainly only help me to approach that kind of grace.

As for the relics, I couldn't top the answer given above. Thank you for being interested enough to ask, and I welcome your response, even if it is questioning. I like healthy debate, as we are instructed to "test everything, and hold to that which is true." 1Thess. 5:21

June 1, 2014 at 4:33 pm PST
#18  Maria Case - Glen Ellyn, Illinois

One more thing: if we take the meaning of the so-called Second Commandment the way Protestantism insists upon, then I hope they don't have any paintings of birds, or flowers, or landscapes, or, (shudder to think!) coi fish, in their homes. Right? "Nothing in heaven above, *Or On Earth*, Or in the Waters." It is really just ridiculous, but I do know that Satan loves ignorance, and that it is, other than pride, his greatest foothold in the destiny of the souls of men.

That this would be something to drag thousands of people away from the true faith says a lot about the level of cognitive powers, education, and stubborness humans can sink to, but nothing about solid interpretation (or just reading it, for crying out loud!), of Sacred Scripture. That thousands of people truly believe that millions of Catholics will go to hell for eternity for having a crucifix speaks to the lack of understanding of God's infinite Love and Mercy for His creation, even if we were wrong about it, (and kind of a general mean-ness). Meh.

June 1, 2014 at 4:52 pm PST
#19  Maria Case - Glen Ellyn, Illinois

To Christopher Travis: I want to know you!!! May have to wait till we have both crossed the threshold, but I am satisfied to share in the Hope of the Ages with you for now. Thank you for such an inspiring, elucidating, humbly offered, God exhalting, personal response to the excellent question!!! "Live a little", heh-heh.

June 1, 2014 at 4:58 pm PST
#20  Christopher Travis - Huntsville, Alabama

Thank you for your kind words Maria!!! Your post was very inspiring to me also. It is so awesome to be able to worship our Lord without spiritual paranoia. When I read about the lives of the Saints I can not help but to be inspired, and the things that made them holy rubs off on me. The Saints did not just read Scripture, they brought it to life!!! No matter what is happening in our life there is a Saint that is there with a helping hand, always showing us the way to Christ. A world with out Saints would seem rather drab and colorless because Christ's love was meant to be seen, to be the Light of the world, not to be hidden under a basket. Everyone of them were a reflection of Christ and in so many ways. You too Maria are a reflection of Christ, and your love for Christ and your faith rubbs off on me, further inspiring and helping me grow in my faith. May God bless you and I look forward to reading more of your great posts!!!

June 5, 2014 at 6:16 am PST
#21  Ron Cilente - Staten Island, New York

According to the bible, the sabbath is forever.

Exodus 31:16 ‘So the sons of Israel shall observe the sabbath, to celebrate the sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.’ 17 “It is a sign between Me and the sons of Israel forever;"

Psalm 105:9 The covenant which He made with Abraham,
And His oath to Isaac.
10 Then He confirmed it to Jacob for a statute,
To Israel as an everlasting covenant,

Matthew 5:17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly I tell you, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished. 19 Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven."

My second thought is this: If Col. 2:16-17 is very clear about not passing judgment with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. ------then why does the church pass judgement on those who don't observe Sunday? (Mortal sin?)

September 29, 2014 at 8:31 pm PST
#22  Tim Staples - El Cajon, California - Catholic Answers Blogger

Ron,
Great questions. You say the Sabbath is forever.
According to the Bible, the Passover is forever as well:
Exodus 12:14:
"This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the Lord throughout your generations you shall observe it as an ordinance for ever."
You better start slaughtering lambs every 14th of Nisan, my friend!
Why don't we? This goes hand-in-hand with your citation of Matt. 5:17-18: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the law and the Prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, til heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished."

The simple answer is that Christ did fulfill the law. He accomplished it and has "made all things new... It is finished" (
Rev. 21:5-6). When Jesus says, "It is done! I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end" there in Rev. 21:5-6, Scripture employs the same word for "it is done" as we find in Matt. 5:18 "... until all is accomplished."
In the New Covenant, we have a new creation. And this is not just something for the future, though the fullness of that new creation will not be until the Second Coming, but it has already begun in Christ (Rev. 21:1-7; Eph. 5:17; Heb. 6:5). Thus, we have a new calendar (we no longer celebrate the Jewish Feasts and Holy Days, God can do this, according to Daniel 2:21), a new Law (Heb. 7:11-12), new commandments (John 13:34; Gal. 6:2; I Cor. 9:21; Matt. 18:15-18), a New Covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:8ff), and a new sacrifice (Heb. 10:9-10).
In answer to your second question: In Colossians 2:16, St. Paul was answering Judaizers, like yourself, who were teaching they still had to keep the Old Law to be saved. That is why he used language from the Old Testament that made it clear he was talking about the Old Testament "Sabbaths, new moons, and Feasts," representing the weekly, monthly, and yearly holy days of old, that had passed away in Christ, when he said "Let no one judge you..." with regard to these (see I Chr. 23:31; II Chr. 2:4; II Chr. 8:13; II Chr. 31:3).
Because the Old Law has passed away, this by no means indicates that we don't have to follow the New Law. St. Paul makes this clear in I Cor. 9:21.

October 6, 2014 at 7:04 am PST

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