JOB 33:21 His flesh wastes away to nothing, and his bones, once hidden, now stick out. JOB 33:22 His soul draws near to the pit, and his life to the messengers of death. JOB 33:23 "Yet if there is an angel on his side as a mediator, one out of a thousand, to tell a man what is right for him, JOB 33:24 to be gracious to him and say, Spare him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom for him'-- JOB 33:25 then his flesh is renewed like a child's; it is restored as in the days of his youth . JOB 33:26 He prays to God and finds favor with him, he sees God's face and shouts for joy, he is restored by God to his righteous state.
Here we have an example of an Angel acting as a mediator for a man who is about to die from sickness and sin and yet by the Angels mediation the man is restored to his health and his righteous state. By virtue of the Angels persuading intercessory prayer to God to have mercy on the man, the man was spared death. Contrast this to Jeremiah:
JER 15:1 Then the LORD said to me: "Even if Moses and Samuel were to stand before me, my heart would not go out to this people. Send them away from my presence! Let them go!
Here we have God being very angry at Israel because of idolatry and God says that even if Moses and Samuel were to make intercession before his very throne he would not grant their request. Now this example is in the negative but it clearly shows that departed saints go before the very throne of God and make intercessory prayer for those of us on earth.
Looking at the Second Book of Maccabees we find an even more explicit example of intercession by departed and glorified Saints:
2 Maccabees 15:11 When he had armed each of them, not so much with the safety of shield and spear as with the encouragement of noble words, he cheered them all by relating a dream, a kind of vision, worthy of belief. 12 What he saw was this: Onias, the former high priest, a good and virtuous man, modest in appearance, gentle in manners, distinguished in speech, and trained from childhood in every virtuous practice, was praying with outstretched arms for the whole Jewish community. 13 Then in the same way another man appeared, distinguished by his white hair and dignity, and with an air about him of extraordinary, majestic authority. 14 Onias then said of him, "This is God's prophet Jeremiah, who loves his brethren and fervently prays for his people and their holy city." 15 Stretching out his right hand, Jeremiah presented a gold sword to Judas. As he gave it to him he said, 16 "Accept this holy sword as a gift from God; with it you shall crush your adversaries."
This passage of Scripture clearly shows us that departed Saints make intercession for those of us on earth who live their life in faith. If you will recall my previous Scripture citation of Matthew 22 where Jesus said at the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven....
Jesus said glorified Saints will be like the Angels in Heaven and Angels are ministering spirits to those of us on earth!
HEB 1:14 ?Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation??
Jesus said that those who die in Christ are transformed and will be like the Angels in heaven and that implies glorified and perfected heavenly Saints (the "spirits of just men made perfect" Hebrews 12:22-24) will like Angels be ministering spirits to the people of God on earth struggling in this life. The difference between Angels and glorified Saints is that the Saints in Heaven lived out their earthly lives through all the trials and tribulations, having their faith tested as gold is tested and purified by fire (1 Peter 1:6-9; 1 Cor 3:12-15).
The Saints in Heaven can perfectly relate to our struggles on earth and by virtue of that experience and knowledge they make perfect intercession before the very throne of God on our behalf. That is the very reason why we have Patron Saints such as Saint Joseph the Patron Saint of workers, Fathers, and husbands. A carpenter or an aircraft mechanic struggling in his skills or the fear of losing his job or a business may petition Saint Joseph who perfectly understands and can relate to this struggle and fear and can take that prayer to the very throne of God and -- just like the Angel in Job -- make perfect intercessory prayer to restore the man back to his health and save his life.
?And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.? (James 5:15-16 KJV).
This is exactly how God has designed his Kingdom so that not only are we dependent on God but also on each other and especially those glorified saints who have departed the earth to receive their eternal inheritance and rewards.
So then why does Saint Paul write to Timothy that there is only One mediator between God and man who is Jesus? The answer is because Jesus mediation role is unique as Jesus was the Lamb of God whose very sacrifice reconciled man back to God satisfying the penalty of eternal damnation sin brings. Such a supreme sacrifice has poured out the grace of God upon all flesh enabling us to receive mercy and grace from God so that we can grow in virtue and holiness through Christ. The mediation role of Saints is between man and Christ to keep us strong in Christ during the trials and tribulations we will have on earth.
The Apostle Paul warns us:
1CO 10:1 For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. 2 They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. 3 They all ate the same spiritual food 4 and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, God was not pleased with most of them; their bodies were scattered over the desert.
1CO 10:6 Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. 7 Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." 8 We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did--and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. 9 We should not test the Lord, as some of them did--and were killed by snakes. 10 And do not grumble, as some of them did--and were killed by the destroying angel.
1CO 10:11 These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. 12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.
Even though Christ Jesus has bridged the gap for man to be reconciled to God and even though God gives us the grace to be strong, we ourselves are responsible for what we do with grace, we must cooperate with grace and that is a free will choice. God said that when we are greatly tempted he will make a way for us to escape; that way is through the intercession of the heavenly Saints as well as Angels who are ministering spirits for those of us who are destined and striving to finish the race laid out before us so that we may receive the crown of eternal life (2 Tim 4:8; James 1:12).
We who are struggling against the principalities and powers of dark forces in the heavenly realm must put on the full armor of God but that armor only covers the front, therefore it is the vital prayers of the Saints that cover our backs (Ephesians 6:11-18).
Without the help of Angels and Saints God has given us we may not even have the strength to put on the armor of God! The Devil?s battleground is the mind and it is there that he will try and destroy us. Without the prayers of the Saints we can so easily become weak and emotionally defeated but God knew this and designed his kingdom so that we would have a great deal of help available to us from Heaven.
Fundamentalists may argue that Jesus is all we need and yet the Fundamentalist has to admit that God has created and given us Angels. Therefore this argument falls flat, as such it could be implied that God doesn?t need the help of Angels either. Since we know God has created Angelic beings to be ministering spirits to those of us who shall inherit salvation (Hebrews 1:14), conversely we also know he has rewarded those who have received the crown of life with authority and power (Wisdom 3:1-9; Rev 12:1) and now are sharing in the divine nature (2 Peter 1:4) to help those not yet perfected saints on earth who continue to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
This is one of the very reasons why Moses and Elijah appeared before Jesus and the Apostles. Jesus received aid from heaven from both Angels and Saints sent by his Father, and we have that same help available to us from God our Father. The Father loves his Son and Jesus said that the love he received from the Father to take care of Him is also in us (John 17:26) ! If you are a Fundamentalist, an Evangelical, or a Reformed believer you may still be resisting my clear Scriptural case but the Bible teaches us exactly what I am saying. Let us look at the book of Hebrews which perfectly reflects and confirms everything I have presented in my case:
HEB 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
This passage in Hebrews clearly sums up my case by confirming and telling us that we can come to not only Jesus in prayer but to Angels and the Spirit of Righteous Men made perfect which is the glorified Saints in heaven. This passage of Scripture flies in the face of the arguments Fundamentalists may make as a last ditch effort to say that praying to anyone else other than God is worshipping another being. However, one has to just look back at Matthew 17:3 and we see Jesus speaking with Moses and Elijah. If praying to the Blessed Mother Mary or to any other Saint constitutes worship then Jesus himself would have been worshipping Moses and Elijah. But the truth is that all Angels and Saints direct worship toward God and they themselves are servants of God. They have been rewarded with eternal treasures which includes ruling over nations and tongues by virtue of the power and grace which God has rewarded them. Consider this Scripture from the book of Wisdom:
Wisdom 3:1 But the souls of the just are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them. 2 They seemed, in the view of the foolish, to be dead; and their passing away was thought an affliction 3 and their going forth from us, utter destruction. But they are in peace. 4 For if before men, indeed, they be punished, yet is their hope full of immortality; 5 Chastised a little, they shall be greatly blessed, because God tried them and found them worthy of himself. 6 As gold in the furnace, he proved them, and as sacrificial offerings he took them to himself.7 In the time of their visitation they shall shine, and shall dart about as sparks through stubble; 8 They shall judge nations and rule over peoples, and the LORD shall be their King forever. 9 Those who trust in him shall understand truth, and the faithful shall abide with him in love: Because grace and mercy are with his holy ones, and his care is with the elect.
So now we see that as part of their eternal reward in heaven Saints are perfected and glorified and are given nations to judge and rule over just like the Prophet Jeremiah was given power to rule over and intercede for Israel in Second Maccabees.
Jesus spoke of the Vine and the Branches representing the one body of Christ:
JN 15:5 "I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be given you. 8 This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.
Explicitly this verse is speaking of our earthly journey but implicitly this verse tells us that we are never separated from the vine once we experience a physical death, we forever remain part of the vine. If glorified Saints are the branches of that vine and we who remain in Christ on earth are part of that vine then we are all intimately connected together from heaven to earth. By virtue of that intimate connection we have the sacred and divine rite and privilege to receive help from our brothers and sisters who have finished the race and received the crown of eternal life. They are still part of the vine which we ourselves are attached.
Finally my brothers and sisters in Christ, as the writer of Hebrews says,
?...since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.? (Hebrews 12:1)
God has given us a great heavenly host to help us on our earthly journey. To call on them for help and prayer is not only showing our love for our brothers and sisters in Christ but their love for us! And that reflects an even greater glory, love, and worship to God who rewards those ahead of us to enable us to be rewarded ourselves as we draw from the heavenly host the help needed to finish the race laid out before us and endure to the end (Matthew 24:9-14).
In closing, let us examine the Apostle Paul?s Epistle to the Corinthians:
1CO 13:8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
Clearly we can see this verse refers to our perfection in heaven, there is perfect love which is shown in the mercy of prayer and aid from the glorified and perfected Saints. God has not left us as orphans and when our family members die in Christ they are still with us praying for us and eager to receive our prayer request to take to the very throne of God. Love never stops, even on the other side of eternity we cannot be separated from God or our departed loved ones, for those who have gone on in glory shall forever remain connected to the Vine which is Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
The earliest Christian believers and ecclesiastical writers certainly believed in the Catholic doctrine of the communion and intercession of the Saints and Angels in heaven:
Matt. 5:44-45 - Jesus tells us to pray for (to mediate on behalf of) those who persecute us. God instructs us to mediate.
Matt. 17:1-3; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:30-31 ? deceased Moses and Elijah appear at the Transfiguration to converse with Jesus in the presence of Peter, James and John (these may be the two ?witnesses? John refers to in Rev. 11:3). Nothing in Scripture ever suggests that God abhors or cuts off communication between the living in heaven and the living on earth. To the contrary, God encourages communication within the communion of saints. Moses and Elijah?s appearance on earth also teach us that the saints in heaven have capabilities that far surpass our limitations on earth.
Matt. 26:53 ? Jesus says He can call upon the assistance of twelve legions of angels. If Jesus said He could ask for the assistance of angel saints, then so can we, who are called to imitate Jesus in word and in deed. And, in Matt. 22:30, Jesus says we will be ?like angels in heaven.? This means human saints (like the angel saints) can be called upon to assist people on earth. God allows and encourages this interaction between his family members.
Matt. 27:47,49; Mark 15:35-36 ? the people believe that Jesus calls on Elijah for his intercession, and waits to see if Elijah would come to save Jesus on the cross.
Matt. 27:52-53 - at Jesus' passion, many saints were raised and went into the city to appear and presumably interact with the people, just as Jesus did after His resurrection.
Mark 11:24 - Jesus says that whatever we ask in prayer, we will receive it. It is Jesus, and also we through Jesus, who mediate.
John 2:3 - Jesus knew the wine was gone, but invites and responds to Mary's intercession. God desires our lesser mediation and responds to it because He is a living and loving God.
John 2:5 - Mary intercedes on behalf of those at the wedding feast and tells them to do whatever Jesus tells them. Because Mary is our perfect model of faith, we too intercede on behalf of our brothers and sisters.
John 2:11 - in fact, it was Mary's intercession that started Jesus' ministry. His hour had not yet come, yet Jesus responds to Mary's intercession. Even though He could do it all by Himself, God wants to work with His children.
Acts 12:7 ? an angel strikes Peter on the side and wakes him up, freeing him from prison. The angel responds to Peter?s prayers.
Rom. 15:30 - Paul commands the family of God to pray for him. If we are united together in the one body of Christ, we can help each other.
2 Cor. 1:11 - Paul even suggests that the more prayers and the more people who pray, the merrier! Prayer is even more effective when united with other's prayers.
2 Cor. 9:14 - Paul says that the earthly saints pray for the Corinthians. They are subordinate mediators in Christ.
2 Cor. 13:7,9 - Paul says the elders pray that the Corinthians may do right and improve. They participate in Christ's mediation.
Gal. 6:2,10 - Paul charges us to bear one another's burdens, and to do good to all, especially those in the household of faith.
Eph. 6:18 - Paul commands the family of God to pray for each other.
Eph. 6:19 - Paul commands that the Ephesians pray for him. If there is only one mediator, why would Paul ask for their prayers?
Phil. 1:19 - Paul acknowledges power of Philippians' earthly intercession. He will be delivered by their prayers and the Holy Spirit.
Col. 1:3 - Paul says that he and the elders pray for the Colossians. They are subordinate mediators in the body of Christ.
Col. 1:9 - Paul says that he and the elders have not ceased to pray for the Colossians, and that, by interceding, they may gain wisdom.
Col. 4:4 - Paul commands the Colossians to pray for the elders of the Church so that God may open a door for the word. Why doesn't Paul just leave it up to God? Because subordinate mediation is acceptable and pleasing to God, and brings about change in the world. This is as mysterious as the Incarnation, but it is true.
1 Thess. 5:11 - Paul charges us to encourage one another and build one another up, in the body of Christ. We do this as mediators in Christ.
1 Thess. 5:17 - Paul says "pray constantly." If Jesus' role as mediator does not apply subordinately to us, why pray at all?
1 Thess. 5:25 - Paul commands the family of God to pray for the elders of the Church. He desires our subordinate mediation.
2 Thess. 1:11 - Paul tells the family of God that he prays for us. We participate in Christ's mediation because Christ desires this.
2 Thess. 3:1 - Paul asks the Thessalonians to pray for Him, Silvanus and Timothy so that they may be delivered.
1 Tim. 2:1-3 - Paul commands us to pray for all. Paul also states that these prayers are acceptable in the sight of God.
2 Tim. 1:3 ? Paul says ?I remember you constantly in my prayers.?
Philemon 22 - Paul is hoping through Philemon's intercession that he may be able to be with Philemon.
Heb. 1:14 ? the author writes, ?Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to serve, for the sake of those who are to obtain salvation??
Hebrews 13:18-19 - the author strongly urges the Hebrews to pray for the elders so that they act desirably in all things.
James 5:14-15- James says the prayer of the priests over the sick man will save the sick man and forgive his sins. This is a powerful example of men forgiving sins and bringing a person to salvation with the sacrament of the sick.
James 5:16 - James instructs us to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another so that we may be healed.
James 5:17-18 - James refers to God's response to Elijah's fervent prayer for no rain. He is teaching us about the effectiveness of our earthly mediation.
1 John 5:14-15 - John is confident that God will grant us anything we ask of God according to His will.
1 John 5:16-17 - our prayers for others even calls God to give life to them and keep them from sinning. Our God is a personal and living God who responds to our prayers.
3 John 2 - John prays for Gaius' health and thus acts as a subordinate mediator.
Rev. 1:4 ? this verse shows that angels (here, the seven spirits) give grace and peace. Because grace and peace only come from God, the angels are acting as mediators for God.
Rev. 5:8 - the prayers of the saints (on heaven and earth) are presented to God by the angels and saints in heaven. This shows that the saints intercede on our behalf before God, and it also demonstrates that our prayers on earth are united with their prayers in heaven. (The ?24 elders? are said to refer to the people of God ? perhaps the 12 tribes and 12 apostles - and the ?four living creatures? are said to refer to the angels.)
Rev. 6:9-11 ? the martyred saints in heaven cry out in a loud voice to God to avenge their blood ?on those who dwell upon the earth.? These are ?imprecatory prayers,? which are pleas for God?s judgment (see similar prayers in Psalm 35:1; 59:1-17; 139:19; Jer. 11:20; 15:15; 18:19; Zech.1:12-13). This means that the saints in heaven are praying for those on earth, and God answers their prayers (Rev. 8:1-5). We, therefore, ask for their intercession and protection.
Rev. 8:3-4 ? in heaven an angel mingles incense with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne of God, and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God. These prayers ?rise up? before God and elicit various kinds of earthly activity. God responds to his children?s requests, whether made by his children on earth or in heaven.
Gen. 20:17 - God responds to Abraham's intercession and heals Abimelech, and also his wife and slaves.
Gen. 27:29; Num. 24:9 - blessed be everyone who blesses you. If we bless others in prayer, we are also blessed.
Exodus 32:11-14, 30-34; 34:9; Num. 14:17-20; 21:7-9 - these are many examples of God's response to Moses' saintly intercession.
1 Sam. 12:23 - Samuel says that he would be sinning against God if he didn't continue to intercede for the people of Israel.
1 Sam. 28:7-20 ? the deceased prophet Samuel appears and converses with Saul, which is confirmed by Sirach 46:13,20).
1 Sam. 28:7; 1 Chron. 10:13-14 - Saul practiced necromancy. He used a medium, not God, to seek the dead and was therefore condemned. Saul's practice is entirely at odds with the Catholic understanding of saintly mediation, where God is the source and channel of all communication, and who permits His children to participate in this power.
2 Chron. 30:27 - the prayers of the priests and Levites came before God's holy habitation in heaven and were answered.
Tobit 12:12,15 - angels place Tobit and Sarah's prayers before the Holy One. This teaches us that the angels are also our subordinate mediators. We pray to the angels to take up our prayers to God.
Job 42:7-9 - Job prayed for three friends in sin and God listened to Job as a result of these prayers.
Psalm 34:7 ? the angel of the Lord delivers those who fear him.
Psalm 91:11 ? God will give His angels charge of you, to guard you in all your ways.
Psalm 103:20-21; 148:1-2 ? we praise the angels and ask for their assistance in doing God?s will.
Psalm 141:2 - David asks that his prayer be counted as incense before God. The prayers of the saints have powerful effects.
Isaiah 6:6-7 - an angel touches Isaiah's lips and declares that his sin is forgiven. The angel is a subordinate mediator of God who effects the forgiveness of sins on God?s behalf.
Jer. 7:16 - God acknowledges the people's ability to intercede, but refuses to answer due to the hardness of heart.
Jer. 15:1 ? the Lord acknowledges the intercessory power of Moses and Samuel.
Jer. 37:3 - king Zedekiah sends messengers to ask Jeremiah to intercede for the people, that he might pray to God for them.
Jer. 42:1-6 - all the people of Israel went before Jeremiah asking for his intercession, that he would pray to the Lord for them.
Baruch 3:4 - Baruch asks the Lord to hear the prayers of the dead of Israel. They can intercede on behalf of the people of God.
Dan. 9:20-23 - Daniel intercedes on behalf of the people of Israel confessing both his sins and the sins of the people before God.
Zech. 1:12-13 - an angel intercedes for those in Judea and God responds favorably.
2 Macc. 15:12-16 ? the high priest Onias and the prophet Jeremiah were deceased for centuries, and yet interact with the living Judas Maccabeas and pray for the holy people on earth.