COPTIC  ORTHODOX PATRIARCHATE

MANY  YEARS WITH  PEOPLE’S QUESTIONS

By H.H. POPE SHENOUDA III

Title  So Many Years with the Problems of People.

Author                         : H. H. Pope Shenouda III.

Translated By                  : St. George Coptic Orthodox Church Chicago, Illinios.

Revised By                     : Mrs. Wedad Abbas

Illustrated By                 : Sister Sawsan.

Edition                        : The second of February, 1993.

Typesetting                    : J.C. Center, Heliopolis.

Printing                       : Dar El Tebaa El Kawmia, Cairo.

Legal Deposit No.              : 3035/1993.

I.S.B.N.                       : 977-5319-11-0.

Revised                        : COEPA - 1997

  

Table of Contents

PART ONE Biblical Questions 8

[ 1 ] DAYS  OF  CREATION  AND  GEOLOGY (Gen. 1) 9

[ 2 ] WHEN  WAS  THE  LIGHT  CREATED? (Gen. 1) 11

[ 3 ] IS  THE  EARTH  PART  OF  THE  SUN (Gen. 1) 11

[ 4 ] ABOUT  THE  CREATION  OF  MAN (Gen. 1 & 2) 12

[ 5 ] THE  SONS OF  GOD  AND  THE SONS  OF  MEN (Gen. 6:2) 13

[ 6 ] MAKER  OF  PEACE  AND  CREATOR OF  EVIL (Is. 45:7) 14

[ 7 ] WHAT  IS  THE  MEANING  OF "BUY  A  SWORD"? (Luke 22:36) 18

[ 8 ] THE  THREE  GUESTS  OF  ABRAHAM (Gen. 18:2) 20

[ 9 ] ALL  WHO  EVER  CAME  BEFORE  ME ARE THIEVES  AND  ROBBERS (John 10:8) 23

[ 10 ] THE  INIQUITY  OF THE  FATHERS  ON THE  CHILDREN (Ex. 20:5) 25

[ 11 ] THE  COMMENDATION  OF  THE  UNJUST STEWARD (Luke 16:8) 27

[ 12 ] "THIS  GENERATION  PASSED  AWAY" (Matt. 24:34) 29

[ 13 ] THE  BLASPHEMY  AGAINST THE  HOLY  SPIRIT (Matt. 12:31) 31

[ 14 ] WHAT  IS  THE  BOOK  OF  JASHER? (Josh. 10:13) 34

[ 15 ] THE  APPEARANCE  OF  THE  LORD TO  SAUL (Acts 9 & 22) 36

[ 16 ] CHRIST  BEFORE  THE  THIRTIETH.. 38

[ 17 ] LITTLE  OF  WINE (1 Tim. 5:23) 41

[ 18 ] THE  POTTER  AND  THE  CLAY (Rom. 9:20-21) 42

[ 19 ] IS  THIS  METEMPHSYCHOSIS? (Matt. 11:14) 45

[ 20 ] ABOUT  THE  MEANING  OF  THE "MAMMON  OF  UNRIGHTEOUSNESS" (Luke 16:9) 48

[ 21 ] WHY  FORGIVE  THEM? (Luke 23:34) 50

[ 22 ] THE  MEANING  OF CERTAIN  WORDS. 52

[ 23 ] THE  RICH  AND  ENTERING  THE KINGDOM (Mark 10:24) 54

[ 24 ] WHICH  HEAVEN  DID  THEY ASCEND  TO? (John 3:13) 58

[ 25 ] WAS  THE  SIN OF  ADAM  ADULTERY? (Gen. 3:2) 61

[ 26 ] WHO  IS  MELCHIZEDEK? (Gen. 14; Heb. 7) 67

[ 27 ] DO  NOT  BE  OVERLY  RIGHTEOUS (Eccl. 7:16) 71

[ 28 ] DID  JUDAS  PARTAKE  OF  THE  HOLY COMMUNION? (Mark 14; John 13) 72

[ 29 ] WERE  SOLOMON  AND  SAMSON  SAVED? (Heb. 11; 2 Sam. 7) 73

[ 30] THE  MEANING  OF "BE  ANGRY  AND  DO  NOT  SIN" (Ps. 4; Rom. 12) 75

[ 31 ] DID  ONE  OR  BOTH  THIEVES BLASPHEME? (Matt  27:44) 76

[ 32] DID  THE  BAPTIST  DOUBT? (Luke 7:19) 77

[ 33 ] A  SWORD (Matt. 10:34) 81

[ 34 ] WAS  THE  PLUCKING  OF  THE  CORN TO EAT,  STEALING? (Mark 2:23) 83

[ 35 ] FOR  IN  MUCH  WISDOM  IS MUCH  GRIEF (Eccl. 1:18) 84

[ 36 ] ARE  ALL  EQUAL? (Matt. 20:1-14) 85

[ 37 ] IS  IT  OUR  DAILY  BREAD,  OR OUR BREAD  FOR  TOMORROW? (Matt. 6:11) 87

[ 38 ] THEY  WILL  NOT  TASTE  DEATH. (Mark 9:1) 90

[ 39 ] SIGNS  OF  THE  END  OF  THE  WORLD (Matt. 24; 2 Thess.) 91

[ 40 ] THE  ACCOUNT  OF THE  DEATH  OF MOSES  THE  PROPHET (Deut. 34:5) 94

PART TWO Theological & Dogmatic Questions 94

(1) DOES MAN HAVE A FREE WILL OR NOT? 95

(2) WHY DID GOD CREATE MAN? 100

(3) IS CONSCIENCE GODS VOICE? 102

(4) MADNESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR SINS. 104

(5) DOES THE BODY (THE FLESH) SIN ALONE? 105

(7) DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT WORK IN THE UNBELIEVERS? 113

(8) WHEN DID THE DISCIPLES RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT? 114

(9) IS THERE A GOSPEL OF ST.  PAUL THE APOSTLE? 116

(10) WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHRIST AS SON OF GOD AND US AS CHILDREN OF GOD? 119

(11) ADAM AND THE LORD CHRIST.. 123

(12) WHY - AFTER SALVATION - DO MEN TOIL AND WOMEN CONCEIVE.. 126

(13) WHY DID WE NOT DIE IMMEDIATELY AFTER SINNING? 127

(15) OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE LORD CHRIST'S BLOOD. 133

(16) HOW CAN HE DIE THOUGH HE IS GOD? 138

(17) HOW DID THE LORD CHRIST DIE WHILE HIS DIVINITY WAS NOT SEPARATED FROM HIS HUMANITY? 140

(18) THE BODY OF THE LORD CHRIST IN THE CHURCH AND EUCHARIST. 142

(19) SATURDAY & SUNDAY.. 145

(20) WHY DO WE BAPTISE BABES WHO HAVE NOT YET BELIEVED? 148

(21) WHY DOES ONE SIN AFTER RENEWAL OF BAPTISIM? 151

(22) CAN A BLESSING BE TAKEN FROM A HUMAN? 152

(23) THE HOLY TRINITY OF CHRISTIANITY AND THE SO CALLED TRINITY OF HEATHEN. 157

(24) DOES INCARNATION MEAN LIMITATION? 161

(25) IS CHRIST FOR JEWS ONLY? 162

(26) WHAT DOES SITTING ON THE RIGHT OF THE FATHER MEAN? 167

(27) WHAT IS THE MEANING OF PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE? 168

(28) HAVE CHRIST'S MIRACLES BEEN WORKED BY IMPRESSION? 170

(29) DID CHRIST WORK HIS MIRACLES BY PRAYER? 176

(30) IS THE TITLE "SON OF MAN" AGAINST CHRIST'S DIVINITY? 180

(31) SPIRITUALISM... 188

(32) MAY THE DEVIL BE SAVED? 191

(33) THOSE WHOM THE CHURCH DOES NOT PRAY FOR. 195

(34) THOSE WHO WERE FORGIVEN BEFORE THE CROSS. 198

(35) HOW CAN IT BE THAT CHRIST PRAYS & GETS TIRED? 200

PART THREE INTRODUCTION.. 202

[ 1 ] THE  ORIGIN  OF  BAD  THOUGHTS. 203

[ 2 ] ENVY.. 207

[ 3 ] SHOULD  ONE  GIVE  FROM  TITHES  TO RELATIVES? 209

[ 4 ] MY  OWN  FINANCIAL  NEEDS  AND  PAYING THE  TITHES. 210

[ 5 ] BEING  NOSEY,  AND  PRYING  INTO OTHER  PEOPLE'S  BUSINESS. 214

[ 6 ] IS  THIS  VOW  PERMISSIBLE  OR FORBIDDEN.. 218

[ 7 ] THE  FIRST  SIN.. 222

[ 8 ] RESPONSIBILITY  FOR  A  SIN  WHICH  ONE HAS  NOT  COMMITTED.. 223

[ 9 ] IS  SOCIAL  SERVICE  THE  WORK  OF  THE CHURCH  OR  THAT  OF  THE  STATE? 224

[ 10 ] HYMNS  SUNG  TO  POPULAR  TUNES. 232

[ 11 ] HOW  TO  RESIST  THOUGHTS. 232

[ 12 ] LOVING  ONE'S  ENEMIES. 238

[ 13 ] PUNISHMENT  AND  THE AGE  OF  GRACE.. 239

[ 14 ] WHAT  DOES  "TO THE  JEWS  I BECAME LIKE  A  JEW"  MEAN? 245

[ 15 ] HOW  TO  DEAL  WITH  PROBLEMS. 246

[ 16 ] ACTING  QUICKLY  OR  TAKING  ONE'S TIME.. 259

[ 17 ] IN  PRIVATE  OR  IN  PUBLIC.. 263

[ 18 ] CRITICISM  AND  CONDEMNATION.. 267

[ 19 ] SHOULD  THE  SACRAMENTS  BE  SOLD? 269

[ 20 ] WHAT  DOES  'I  HAVE  KEPT  YOU  FROM SINNING  AGAINST  ME'  MEAN? 270

[21] SINS  ARE  NOT  EQUAL  IN  DEGREE, NOR  IN  PUNISHMENT.. 272

[22] THE  VIEW  OF  CHRISTIANITY REGARDING  ORGAN  TRANSPLANTS. 275

[ 23 ] HOW  SHOULD  WE  PRAY? 280

[ 24 ] ABOUT  ASKING FOR  GIFTS. 282

[ 25 ] THE  HIGHEST  VIRTUE  OF  ALL. 286

[ 26 ] FOLLOWING  THE  LIVES  OF  THE  SAINTS. 287

[ 27 ] WHETHER  IT  IS  NECESSARY  TO  KNOW HOW  TO  READ  AND  WRITE  IN ORDER  TO  BE  A  MONK  OR  A  NUN.. 288

[ 28 ] THE  MEEK  WILL  INHERIT  THE  EARTH.. 292

[ 29 ] FREE  TIME.. 293

[ 30 ] EVERYONE  WHO  HAS  WILL  BE  GIVEN MORE.. 294

[ 31 ] THE  REAL  ELEMENTS  OF  STRENGTH.. 295

[ 32 ] IF  YOUR  EYE  OR  HAND  CAUSES  YOU  TO SIN.. 296

[ 33 ] SIMPLICITY.. 298

[ 34 ] THE  ATTITUDE  OF  CHRISTIANITY TOWARDS  WINE.. 299

[ 35 ] GOD'S  WILL  AND  PERMISSION.. 306

[ 36 ] THE  FRUITS  OF  SIN.. 307

[ 37 ] THE  SPIRITUAL  LIFE  AND  TROUBLES. 310

[ 38 ] BEING  PERFECT  WHAT  DOES  IT  MEAN ?  AND WHAT  ARE  ITS  LIMITS. 312

[ 39 ] PEOPLE  WHO  HAVE  CONFESSED BUT  WHOSE  SINS  HAVE  NOT  BEEN FORGIVEN.. 315

[ 40 ] THE  SPIRITUALITY  OF  THE  MONKS AND  LAYMEN.. 316

[ 41 ] JESUS  CHRIST  AND  THE  COMPLETION OF  HIS  MISSION.. 318

[ 42 ] THOUGHTS  OF  SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS. 320

[ 43 ] WHO  AM  I?  AND  WHY  HAVE  I  COME HERE? 321

[ 44 ] PRAYERS  AND  PROSTRATIONS. 323

PART FOUR INTRODUCTION.. 324

[ 1 ] THE  SPIRITS  AND  THEIR  WORK.. 325

[ 2 ] CAN  THE  SPIRITS  RECOGNISE EACH  OTHER? 326

[ 3 ] "NO-ONE  HAS  EVER  SEEN  GOD". 327

[ 4 ] HOW  CAN  SPIRITS  SEE  SPIRITS? 328

[ 5 ] THE  CROWN  OF  RIGHTEOUSNESS. 331

[ 6 ] WHO  ARE  THE  SERAPHIM? 333

[ 7 ] JUSTIFIED  FREELY  BY  HIS  GRACE.. 334

[ 8 ] CONCERNING  THE  JEWISH  RELIGION.. 338

[ 9 ] PRAYING  FOR  THE  DECEASED.. 342

[ 10 ] IS  THERE  AN  ETERNITY  FOR  THE WICKED  AND  FOR  SATAN? 346

[ 11 ] DID  GOD  NEED  CHRIST  IN  ORDER  TO CREATE  AND  TO SAVE  MANKIND.. 348

[ 12 ] THE RELATIONSHIP  OF  THE  APOSTLES WITH  THE HOLY  SPIRIT.. 349

[ 13 ] HOW  CAN  I  TELL  WHICH  LEAFLETS  ARE ORTHODOX  AND  WHICH  ARE  NOT? 350

[ 14 ] CONCERNING  THE  DIVINITY  OF  CHRIST.. 352

[ 15 ] IS  THERE  LIFE  ON  THE  OTHER PLANETS? 354

[ 16 ] REPLYING  TO  A  QUESTION  WITH A  VERSE.. 355

[ 17 ] QUESTIONS  ABOUT  THE HOLY  SPIRIT.. 359

[ 18 ] WAS  THE  HOLY  SPIRIT  THE  ANGEL GABRIEL? 362

[ 19 ] WHY  ARE  THERE  SEVEN  MYSTERIES  OR (SACRAMENTS)? 364

[ 20 ] ARE THE  SACRAMENTS  NECESSARY  FOR ALL  PEOPLE? 366

[ 21 ] IS  THE  SACRAMENT  STILL  THE  SAME WHEN  A  SHORTENED  SERVICE  IS  USED? 368

[ 22 ] THE  POINT  OF  TRANSUBSTANTIATION  IN THE  SACRAMENT  OF  THE  EUCHARIST.. 369

[ 23 ] ABOUT  THE  PRAYER  OF  "THE  UNCTION OF THE  SICK"  BEING  SAID  IN  HOMES. 372

[ 24 ] THE  NUMBER  OF  HEAVENS. 374

[ 25 ] CAN  SATAN  ENTER  A  CHURCH? 375

[ 26 ] FASTING  AND  EATING  FISH.. 377

[ 27 ] THE  ASCENT  INTO  HEAVEN  AND THE  EARTH'S  GRAVITY.. 379

[ 28 ] WHY  THE  CROSS? 381

[ 29 ] GOD'S  JUSTICE  AND  MERCY.. 383

[ 30 ] ABOUT  BEING  RE-BAPTISED.. 384

[ 31 ] IS  THERE  A  THIRD  PLACE  FOR WORSHIPPING  GOD? 386

[ 32 ] HAS  SATAN  BEEN  RELEASED  FROM  HIS PRISON  AND  IS  THE  LAST  DAY APPROACHING? 388

[ 33 ] WHO  ARE  THE  SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTISTS? 392

[ 34 ] WAS  THE  USE  OF  INCENSE  ABOLISHED IN  THE  NEW  TESTAMENT? 393

[ 35 ] CANDLES  IN  CHURCH.. 395

[ 36 ] AT  THE  RIGHT  HAND  OF  THE  FATHER.. 397

[ 37 ] ATONING  FOR  SINS. 399

[ 38 ] WHEN  SHOULD  THE  HOLY  CHRISM (MYRON)  BE  MADE? 400

[ 39 ] THE  MAKING  OF  THE  HOLY  MYRON  IN THE  MONASTERY  OR  IN  THE PATRIARCHATE.. 401

[ 40 ] WHAT  IS  THE  'GHALILAUN ' ? 403

[ 41 ] WHERE  SHOULD  THE  OFFERTORY BREAD  BE  PLACED? 404

[ 42 ] WHEN  SHOULD  THE  ORDINARY  BREAD BE  DISTRIBUTED? 405

[ 43 ] THE  DEACONS  AND  THE DISTRIBUTION OF  THE  EULOGIA.. 406

[ 44 ] THE  DEACONS  AND  TAKING COMMUNION.. 408

[ 45 ] CAN  A  DEACON  HOLD  THE  CHALICE DURING  THE  COMMUNION  SERVICE? 410

[ 46 ] A FUNERAL  PROCESSION  FOR  A  DEACON WHO  HAS  DEPARTED.. 411

[ 47 ] PREACHING  DURING  COMMUNION.. 412

[ 48 ] THE  SUNDAY  PRECEDING  THE  LENT  AND GETTING  MARRIED.. 413

[ 49 ] WHY  WOMEN  ARE  NOT  PERMITTED  TO ENTER  THE  SANCTUARY.. 414

[ 50 ] ABOUT  WOMEN  DURING  MENSTRUATION TIME.. 415

[ 51 ] WHY  WE  BEATIFY  THE  VIRGIN  MARY.. 418

[ 52 ] CONCERNING  HONOURING THE  BODY  OF  THE  VIRGIN  MARY.. 422

[ 53 ] IS  THE  VIRGIN  THE  "GATEWAY"  TO LIFE? 423

[ 54 ] YOU  ARE  THE  TRUE  VINE.. 428

[ 55 ] THE  VIRGIN  MARY  AS  A  'WALL' 430

[ 56 ] WAS  THE  VIRGIN  MARY  EVER  A  BRIDE? 432

[ 57 ] IS  THE  VIRGIN  MARY  A  'SISTER'  TO  US? 436

[ 58 ] DID  THE  VIRGIN  MARY  KNOW? 439

[ 59 ] DID  CHRIST  HAVE  ANY  REAL BROTHERS? 440

[ 60 ] THE  RELATIONSHIP  BETWEEN  MARY AND  ELIZABETH.. 443

 

 

 

PART ONE Biblical Questions

The history of questions with me is lengthy.  Since I have

been ordained a Bishop on September 30,1962, over twenty-

five years ago, I adopted a specific method in teaching and

preaching: to give a chance for the audience to introduce

their questions and have them answered before the beginning

of the main lecture.

This way thousands of questions accumulated before me

during the thousands of lectures that I have given, in the

weekly  spiritual  meetings,  on  Friday  evenings;  the  Bible

study  meetings  on  Tuesday (1968-1972);  the  theological

lectures on Wednesday; my meetings with the priests; with

the  Sunday  school  teachers  and  their  conferences;  the

meetings   of   college   societies;   general   meetings   in

Alexandria, on Sunday; the lectures that were given in the

theological seminary in Alexandria and Cairo; or the spiritual

meetings during my visits to churches and dioceses.

Even before my monastic life, I used to answer the spiritual

questions of the readers of the Sunday school magazine and

the   questions   followed   me   everywhere,   even   in   the

monastery.

The  questions  varied  some  around  biblical  verses,  some

about theology, doctrines, ministry, spiritual life or social

relationships  and  many  other  subjects..  I  excluded  what

was  repetitious,  personal,  or  what  I  answered  with  one

sentence or a joke.

I chose what was fit from the questions for publication, so

the people would not have to ask the same questions again

and to have almost uniform answers to such questions.

Pope Shenouda III

 

 

[ 1 ] DAYS  OF  CREATION  AND  GEOLOGY (Gen. 1)

Question

How can the saying of the Bible that God created the

world  in  six  days  coincide  with  the  opinion  of  the

geologists that the age of the earth is thousands even

millions of years?

Answer:

The days of creation are not Solar days as our days now.

The day of creation is a period of time, not known how long,

which could haven been a second or thousands or millions of

years.  This period was determined by the saying "so the

evening and the morning were..."

The evidences for this are many, among which are:

1. The Solar day is the period of time between the sunrise

and its rising again or between the sunset and its setting

again.  Since the sun was only created on the fourth day

(Gen. 1:16-19)., then the first four days were not solar

days.

2. As for the seventh day, the Bible did not state that it

has ended.

The Bible did not say [so the evening and the morning were

the seventh day], and thousands of years passed from Adam

till now while this seventh day is still going on.  Accordingly,

the days of creation are not Solar days but unknown periods

of time.

3. As a whole, the Bible said about all the creation and its six

days: ". This is the history of the heavens and the earth

when they were created, in the day that the LORD God

made the earth and the heavens," (Gen. 2:4).

So the Bible summed up in the word (day) all the six

days of creation...

Let the geologists say then whatever they want about the age

of the earth; for the Bible did not mention any age for the

earth that may contradict the views of the geologists.

The way the Lord looks to the measurement of time is

explained by the apostle as follows: "With the Lord one day

is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day " (2

Pet. 3:8).

[ 2 ] WHEN  WAS  THE  LIGHT  CREATED? (Gen. 1)

Question

The Book of Genesis states that God created the light on

the first day (Gen 1:3), while it states that the sun, moon

and stars were created on the fourth day (Gen. 1:14-18).

What is the difference between the two matters?

And was the light created on the first day or the fourth?

Answer:

God created light on the first day as the Bible indicated.

But, what light?  It is the substance of light, the shining mass

of fire from which God made the sun, the moon and the stars

on the fourth day.  On the fourth day also God established

the astronomical laws and the permanent relation between

these celestial bodies...

[ 3 ] IS  THE  EARTH  PART  OF  THE  SUN (Gen. 1)

Question:

I have read in a book a criticism of the story of creation

as mentioned in the first chapter of the Book of Genesis.

How can the earth be part of the sun as the scientists

say, while the Bible states that the sun was created on

the fourth day after the creation of the earth?  So how

can the earth be part of something that was created later

on?

Answer:

Scientists do not say that the earth was part of the sun and

separated from it, otherwise the sun will be missing this

portion.

What scientists say is that earth is part of the solar system

and not of the sun itself.  It was part of the Nebula; that fiery

mass which was no doubt luminous.  This Nebula is what the

Bible meant by saying on the first day "Then God said, let

there be light, and there was light."

Earth was part of this mass and separated from it.  The earth

gradually cooled down until its surface became completely

cool   and   on   the   third   day   became   fit   to   grow

plants and trees on, using the light and heat radiating from

the Nebula.

On the fourth day, from this mass God created, the sun,

moon,  stars,  meteors  and  all  other  celestial  bodies  and

regulated  the  interrelations  and  the  movement  of  these

bodies.

The sun, on the fourth day, remained as it is; a whole with

the earth attached to it, but God set the relation between

earth and sun, moon and other stars and planets through the

astronomical laws.

 

[ 4 ] ABOUT  THE  CREATION  OF  MAN (Gen. 1 & 2)

Question:

In Genesis there are two stories about the creation of

man, the first is in the first chapter where God created

man; male and female, and the second is in the second

chapter where Adam and Eve were created.  Do these

two accounts coincide with each other.

Answer:

The story of making man is one story for the same man.

The account is mentioned as a whole in the first chapter

but in detail in the second chapter.

In the first chapter, the making of man was part of all the

process of creation.  Then the details came in the second

chapter about how Adam was created of dust then God

breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; how Eve was

created from one of Adams'ribs.  It also mentioned the

feelings of Adam before and after making Eve and giving

Adam and Eve their names.

 

The two accounts are integral; in the first you find the given

blessing and the allowed foods and in the second you find

how they were created, the names given to them and a hint

about Paradise.

 

 

[ 5 ] THE  SONS OF  GOD  AND  THE SONS  OF  MEN (Gen. 6:2)

Question:

(Gen. 6:2) describes before the account of the flood "that

the sons of God saw the daughters of men, that they were

beautiful,.  and  they  took  wives  for  themselves  of  all

whom they chose."  Who are the sons of God? and who

are the daughters of men?

Answer:

The sons of God are the descendants of Seth and the

daughters of men are the descendants of Cain.

After the slaying of Abel the righteous, Adam begot another

son and named him Seth, "for God has appointed another

seed for me instead of Abel" (Gen. 4:25) “And as for Seth,

to him also a son was born; and he named him Enosh. Then

men began to call on the name of the LORD.” (Gen. 4:26).

In the genealogy of Jesus Christ it is mentioned that "the son

of Enosh, the son of Seth, the son of Adam, the son of God."

(Luke 3:38).

 

The sons of Seth were called the sons of God for they were

the  sanctified  offspring  from  which  Noah  came,  then

Abraham, then David, then Christ through whom all the

tribes of the earth were blessed.  They are the believers that

belong to God; those took the blessing of Adam (Gen. 1:28)

and then the blessing of Noah (Gen. 9:1).

It  was  good  that  God  called  some  humans  His  sons

before the flood.

The sons of Cain were not attributed to God for the curse

that  befell  Cain,  befell  them  also  (Gen.   4:11)  and  they

walked in the way of corruption so they were called the sons

of men and they all drowned by the flood.

 

[ 6 ] MAKER  OF  PEACE  AND  CREATOR OF  EVIL (Is. 45:7)

Question:

Isn't God the absolute goodness?  How then is it said

about Him that He is the maker of peace and creator of

evil (Is. 45:7) while evil doesn't agree with God's nature.

Answer:

We should know first the meaning of the word "good" and

the word "evil" in the biblical terminology for they have

more than one meaning.

The word "evil" could mean sin which is not the case in the

verse "creator of evil" in (Is. 45:7).

"Evil" meaning sin doesn't agree with the goodness of

the Lord for He is the absolute goodness.  But it comes

also in the Bible to mean tribulations and hardships.

The word "good" has also two contradicting meanings: it

could mean righteousness - opposite of sin, and it could

mean opposite of tribulations - richness, blessing, abundance

and various kinds gifts.

* This is very clear in the story of Job the Righteous, when

the tribulations befell him and his wife grumbled, he rebuked

her saying " "You speak as one of the foolish women speaks.

Shall we indeed accept good from God, and shall we not

accept adversity?" (Job. 2:10).

Job did not mean by the word "evil" here "sin"; for no

sin befell him from the Lord but he meant by evil the

tribulations he underwent.

As for the death of his children, the destruction of his house

and the plundering of his oxen, donkeys, sheep and camels,

all these tribulations and calamities commonly known as evil,

the Bible says " when Job's three friends heard of all this

adversity that had come upon him, each one came from his

own place; to mourn with him and to comfort him."

(Job.2:11)

With the same concept the Lord had spoken about His

punishment for the people of Israel saying "'Behold, I will

bring calamity on this place and on its inhabitants, all the

curses that are written in the book” (2 Chr. 34:24).  Surely

the Lord here did not mean by evil the sin.

What He meant by evil was the captivity of the children

of Israel, their defeat before their enemies and the other

afflictions that He brought upon them to punish them.

 

* Another example is the saying of the Lord about Jerusalem

"Behold, I will bring such a catastrophe on this place, that

whoever hears of it, his ears will tingle " (Jer. 19:3)  The Lord

mentioned the details of that evil saying "I will cause them to fall

by the sword before their enemies... their corpses I will give as

meat for the birds of the heavens and for the beasts of the earth.

I will make this city desolate and a hissing... even so I will break

this people and this city, as one breaks a potter's vessel, which

can not be made whole again" (Jer. 19:7-11).

* The same meaning is given in the Book of Amos. (Amos 9:4).

* In the promises of the Lord to rescue the people of Israel from

captivity, difficulties and defeat “For thus says the LORD: 'Just

as I have brought all this great calamity on this people, so I will

bring on them all the good that I have promised them.” (Jer.

32:42) the word evil meant captivity and the promise was to

return them from captivity.

The word "good" here does not mean righteousness or godliness as

it is also clear that the word "evil" here did not mean sin.

The word good means also blessings, wealth, and prosperity.

The Psalm says " Who satisfies your mouth with good things, So

that your youth is renewed like the eagle's" (Ps. 103:5) and the

Lord says in    (Jer.   5:25) " Your iniquities have turned these

things away, And your sins have withheld good from you."

In the same meaning also it is said about the Lord that He is "the

maker of good and creator of evil" which means He gives the

blessings  and  prosperity  and  also  He  allows  afflictions  and

adversities.

 

If the word evil means afflictions, then it can be from God. He

wants or allows it as a discipline for people or to urge them to

repent or for any spiritual benefit that might be gained from

these afflictions (James 1:2-4).

The phrase "creator of evil" or "maker of evil" means whatever the

people regard as evil or trouble or tribulation which also might be

for good.

Examples for good in the sense of righteousness, and for evil in

the sense of sin:

+ " for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those

who do good." (1 Pet. 2:14).

+ Also "Depart from evil, and do good.  " (Ps. 34:14).

+ And the saying of the Lord " your little ones and your children,

who you say will be victims, who today have no knowledge of

good and evil"    (Deut.   1:39) and also the verse "the tree of

knowledge of good and evil" (Gen. 2:9).

Accordingly the verse "He treated him well" means helped him,

aided, rescued, had mercy and gave him good gifts and presents.

On the other hand the verse "you meant evil against me" means to

harm him.

When the Lord brings evil on a nation, it means put them

under the rod of correction by tribulations and plagues which

are considered evil.

 

[ 7 ] WHAT  IS  THE  MEANING  OF "BUY  A  SWORD"? (Luke 22:36)

Question:

How can the Lord Christ he the maker of peace and the

king of peace, and at the same time tell His disciples "he

who has no sword let him sell his garment and buy one.”

(Luke 22:36)

"What did He mean by ordering His disciples to buy a

sword?  Why when they told Him "here are two swords

He replied "it is enough." (Luke 22:38).

Answer:

The Lord Christ absolutely did not mean the sword in its

literal sense.

As an evidence of that, hours after He said this statement,

and during His arrest "Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it

and struck the high priest servant and cut off his ear... then

Jesus said to Peter: put your sword into the sheath'' (John

18:10-11), "for all who take the sword will perish by the

sword.    " (Matt.   26:51-52).    If  the  Lord  was  asking

them to use the sword, he would not have stopped Peter

from using the sword in such circumstances.

But the Lord meant the symbolic meaning of the sword

which is the spiritual struggle.

The Lord was talking to them on his way to Gethsemane

(Luke 22:39) in His last minutes before His arrest to be

crucified.  He said "Let him sell his garments and buy a

sword" then right after that He said 'for I say to you that

this which is written must still be accomplished in Me", "and

He was numbered with the transgressors"(Luke 22:37).

What is the common line between these two statements?  It

seems as if He was telling them, while I was with you, I

guarded you, I was the sword that protected you, but now I

am going to give myself up in the hands of sinners and the

saying "numbered with transgressors" will be fulfilled... then

take care of yourselves and struggle.

Since I am going to leave you, every one of you should

fight the spiritual fight, and buy a sword.

St. Paul had spoken about "the sword of the spirit" in his

epistle to the Ephesians and about: "the whole armour of

God, the breast plate of righteousness, and the shield of

faith" (Eph. 6:11-17).  That is what the Lord Christ meant

by that; so we might be able to be steadfast in face of the

snares of Satan in these spiritual fights.

 

The disciples did not understand that spiritual symbol at

that time so they answered: here are two swords.

As  He  told  them  before  in  the  same  symbolic  concept

"Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees" (Luke 21:1), He

meant their hypocrisy but they thought He spoke about the

bread (Mark 8:17).  In the same manner they answered Him,

when He talked to them about the sword of the spirit, here

are two swords, so He replied that "It is enough"... It is

enough discussion in this subject since there wasn't enough

time...  He did not mean the swords by the statement "It is

enough" otherwise He would say they are enough...

We should distinguish between what the Lord meant to

be understood symbolically and what literally.  The flow

of the conversation usually indicates that.

 

[ 8 ] THE  THREE  GUESTS  OF  ABRAHAM (Gen. 18:2)

Question:

Who were the three that Abraham the patriarch hosted

in  Genesis                                                         18?    Were  they  the  Holy  Trinity?    Was

Abraham's worshipping them an indication of that?  He

talked to them at times in plural and at other times in

singular, is that a proof for the Trinity?

Answer:

We cannot say that these three were the Holy Trinity.

For there is no clear separation in the Trinity as it is the case

here.  The Son says "I and My Father are One. " (John

10:30) and says "I am in the Father, and the Father in Me;

He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9-10)

and it was also said about the Father "no one has ever seen

God" (John 1:18).

The prostration of Abraham was the prostration of respect,

not of worshipping.  As Abraham bowed himself before the

sons  of  Heth  when  he  bought  from  them  the  Cave  of

Machpelah (Gen. 23:7).

 

If Abraham had known that he was before the Lord, he would

not have offered them butter, milk, bread and meat and said

"rest yourselves under the tree.  And I will bring a morsel of

bread that you may refresh your hearts.  After that you may

pass by.  " (Gen. 18:4-8).

The three were the Lord and with Him two angels.

The two angels, after the meeting, went on to Sodom (Gen.

18:16 & 22; Gen. 19:1) and Abraham remained standing before

the Lord (Gen. 18:22) interceding for Sodom (Gen. 18:23).

When our father Abraham saw these three men, while he was

sitting at the tent door, they surely were not in the same

magnificence   or   reverence.    The   Lord   no   doubt   was

distinguished  from  the  angels  in  reverence  and  glory,  and

perhaps the two angels were walking behind Him.

Therefore our father Abraham talked to the Lord in the

singular considering Him the representative of this group.

He said to Him "My Lord, if I have now found favour in Your

sight, do not pass on by Your servant.  Please let a little water

be brought, and wash your feet, and rest yourselves under the

tree".  By all means, 0 Lord allow the two with You, so a little

water be brought, and wash their feet.

For this reason, our father Abraham at times talked in the

singular and at other times in the plural.  An example of that, if

you  meet  an  officer  and  two  soldiers  with  him,  you  will

address  the  conversation  to  the  officer  about  himself  and

include the two soldiers at the same time.

As we mentioned, the three were the Lord along with two

angels.  The two angels went to Sodom (Gen. 19:1) and the

third remained with Abraham.

It is clear that the third was the Lord and the evidences

are:

He told Abraham "I will certainly return to you according to

the time of life, and behold, Sarah your wife shall have a son"

(Gen. 18:10).  Furthermore the same chapter clearly indicates

that He was the Lord in many verses:

* And the Lord said to Abraham, "why did Sarah laugh" (Gen.

18:13).

* And the Lord said "shall I hide from Abraham what I am

doing" (Gen. 18:17).

* And the Lord said "Because the outcry against Sodom and

Gomorrah is great" (Gen. 18:20).

Then the men turned away from there and went toward Sodom,

but Abraham still stood before the Lord. (Gen. 18:22).

* The saying of Abraham, "shall not the judge of all the

earth do right?" no doubt indicates that he was talking to

God  as  in  the  rest  of  his  conversation  interceding  for

Sodom.

* The way Abraham put his words "Indeed now, I who am but

dust and ashes have taken it upon myself to speak to the Lord".

 

 

* And the way the Lord put His words "If I find in Sodom fifty

righteous... I will spare all the place for their sakes" "I will not

do it if I find thirty there" "I will not destroy it for the sake of

ten".  It is clear those were the words of God who Has the

authority to condemn and to forgive.

But the other two, were the angels that went to Sodom as it

is clear from the verses (Gen. 18:16,22) & (Gen. 19:1) and

their known account with Lot in (Gen. 19).

The fact that the three were separated is an indication that

they were not the Holy Trinity.

Two went to Sodom and the third remained with Abraham to

talk to him about giving Sarah an offspring and listen to his

intercession for Sodom.

This separation fits more talking about God and the two angels

but not about the Trinity.

 

 

[ 9 ] ALL  WHO  EVER  CAME  BEFORE  ME ARE THIEVES  AND  ROBBERS (John 10:8)

Question:

What is the meaning of the statement of the Lord "I am

the door of the sheep all who ever come before Me, are

thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not hear them "

(John   10:7-8).    Is  it  believable  to  say  about  all  the

prophets that came before Him that they were thieves

and robbers?!

Answer:

The  Lord  Christ,  absolutely  did  not  mean  by  this

statement the prophets.

Here He talked about those who did not enter from the door

by saying "I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold

by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a

thief  and  a  robber"    (John    10:1),  but  the  prophets  had

entered through the door and were sent by the heavenly

Father.

Who are those thieves then?

 

 

They  are  those  who  came  shortly  before  Christ,  led

people astray and Gamaliel talked about them.

When the chief priests brought the Apostles before them in

the   council,   to   judge   them   for   their   preaching   the

resurrection of the Lord, said to them "look, you have filled

Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's

blood on us" (Acts 5:28); "they took council to kill them"

(Acts 5:33).  Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee

named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all

the people and commanded them to put the apostles outside,

and he said to the members of the council: "Take heed to

yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men."

For  some  time  ago  Theudas  rose  up,  claiming  to  be

somebody.

A number of men, about four hundred, joined him.  He was

slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to

nothing.

After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the

census, and drew away many people after him.  He also

perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed.

And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let

them alone, for if this plan or this work is of men, it will

come to nothing, but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it

lest you even be found to fight against God" (Acts 5:34-39).

 

 

About those as Theudas and Judas of Galilee, the Lord

Christ said, they were thieves and robbers.

Those that came before Him and claimed to be somebody

and drew away many people after them, were dispersed.

We can add to them, those false teachers who troubled the

people with their teachings and Christ called them "blind

guides" who had the keys of the kingdom, they did not enter

and prevented others from entering. (Matt. 23:13-15).

 

[ 10 ] THE  INIQUITY  OF THE  FATHERS  ON THE  CHILDREN (Ex. 20:5)

Question:

Could the iniquity of the fathers visit the children as the

Bible says in (Ex. 20:5) and as we say "The fathers ate

sour grapes and the children's teeth are set on edge"?

Answer:

The fathers can hand down to their children physically

the result of their sins or sicknesses.

The parent could sin and as a result of his or her sin they

may  have  contract  a  sickness  and  then  the  son  or  the

daughter could inherit that sickness.  The children could be

stricken  by  mental  or  neurological  diseases,  some  blood

disorders or congenital defects as a result of what was

inherited from their parents.

Often the sickness of the children and their suffering are a

cause of pain for the parents especially if they knew that the

sickness was a result of their sins.

 

 

The children might inherit ill-nature or bad character

from their parents.

But this is not a rule; king Saul was cruel, merciless and of

bad character.  His son Jonathan was the opposite.  Jonathan

was a friend of David.  He loved him and was faithful to him.

Even if the children inherit ill-nature from their parents, they

can with ease get rid of it if they wish.

A son can inherit poverty or debts because of his father's

mistakes...

He suffers because of it, of course on earth, and that would

have nothing to do with his eternal life.  Many are the end

results that the saying of the poet agrees with (This is what

my father inflicted upon me, and I did not inflict on anyone).

As for judging the children for the sins that were committed

personally by their parents, the Bible has refuted completely

as written in he Book of Ezekiel "what do you mean when

you use this proverb... the fathers have eaten sour grapes,

and the children's teeth are set on edge?  'As I live' says the

Lord God, you shall no longer use this proverb the soul who

sins shall die... "

The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the

father bear the guilt of the son:

"The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and

the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.                   (Ezek.

18:1-20).

The righteous Jonathan did not bear the evil of his father king

Saul nor Josiah the righteous king the sin of Aaron his father or

Manasseh his grandfather or the rest of his forefathers.

The curses of the law in the Old Testament was abolished in

the New Testament.  As we say in the Anaphora of St.

Gregory:

[You have lifted the curse of the Law].

As an example of this curse, Canaan, did bear the curse of his

father Ham, (Gen. 9:22-25) and his sons also bore it till the

days of the Lord Christ and not only till the fourth generation.

Now, we are in the era of "grace and truth" (John 1:17) so do

not be afraid of the curse of the Law which was inherited by the

children from their grandfathers.

Often the father could be evil but the son is righteous refusing

to walk in his father's footsteps, and even he might resist him as

the Lord says, "He who loves father or mother more than Me is

not worthy of Me." (Matt. 10:37).

Naturally it would be unjust for God to visit the sins of this evil

father on his righteous son who deserves to be rewarded.

 

 

[ 11 ] THE  COMMENDATION  OF  THE  UNJUST STEWARD (Luke 16:8)

Question:

The Bible says "So the Master commended the unjust

steward" (Luke 16:8).  How did the Lord commend the

unjust steward?

Answer:

The  Lord  did  not  commend  all  his  actions,  He  only

commended his wisdom.

The conclusion of this verse says "so the master commended

the unjust steward because he had done wisely".  This man was

prepared for whatever the future might bring him before he was

discharged from his stewardship.  This readiness in this parable

symbolises the readiness that we should have toward eternity

before we depart from this world.

The Lord, by this parable admonishes us by the wisdom

which the people of the world have.

So if the people of this world in spite of their sins, have such

wisdom  then  the  sons  of  God  should  also  have  it.    For

immediately after praising the unjust steward on his wisdom

 

He said, 'for the sons of this world are more shrewd in their

generation than the sons of light" (Luke 16:8).  The Lord is

reproaching us by the parable of the unjust steward who being a

son of this world, knew how to be ready for his future.

We need to bring up an important point in this parable and other

parables like it:

There is a specific point of comparison, not a generalised

one.

For  example  if  we  praise  the  lion,  we  do  not  praise  its

savageness and wildness but we praise its strength and courage.

If we describe a man as a lion we do not mean that he is an

animal or a savage but we praise him for his strength and

courage.  Also in the parable of the unjust steward the praise

was for one specific point only which is the wisdom of being

ready for the future, not his other qualities.

Here  we  give  another  example  to  clarify  this  point:    The

serpent, which is the cause of the calamity and fall of the human

race, the Lord found a nice thing about it that we might adopt,

He said:

"Be wise as serpents... " (Matt. 10:16)

Does that mean that we should be like the serpent in every

thing? While it is a symbol of wickedness, evil and cunning.

The only point that God praised in the serpent is the wisdom, so

the resemblance is only limited to this quality, as with the unjust

steward.

38

 

[ 12 ] "THIS  GENERATION  PASSED  AWAY" (Matt. 24:34)

Question:

The  Lord  Christ  in  chapter  24  of  the  gospel  of  St.

Matthew talked about the signs of the time and the end

of the age saying " Assuredly, I say to you, this generation

will by no means pass away till all these things take place

" (Matt. 24:34).  This generation had passed and many

other generations after it and the world did not end ... !

How can we explain that'?

Answer:

In fact the Lord Christ in (Matt. 24) and also in (Mark 13) was

talking about two subjects: the destruction of Jerusalem and the

end of the world and not about the latter only.

His saying "this generation will by no means pass away till

all these things are fulfilled" meant the realisation of His

prophecy  regarding  the  destruction  of  Jerusalem.  This  was

fulfilled when Jerusalem was destroyed in the year 70 AD and

the Jews were dispersed all over the earth and that generation

was still around.

Other prophecies of the Lord Christ in this chapter regarding

the destruction of Jerusalem, not the end of the world are as

follows:

39

 

+ "Matt. 24:15-20 "Therefore when you see the 'abomination

of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the

holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand), "then let those

who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  "Let him who is on the

housetop not go down to take anything out of his house.  "And

let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. "But

woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing

babies in those days!  "And pray that your flight may not be in

winter or on the Sabbath."

+ " Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you,

and you will be hated by all nations for My name's sake.  "And

then many will be offended, will betray one another..." (Matt.

24:9-10).

+ "Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the

other left. "Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be

taken and the other left. " (Matt. 24:40-41)

Therefore, do not take the whole chapter as prophecies

about the end of the world.

The phrase “the coming of the Son of Man " means the second

coming at the end of the age and it also means His coming as

far as the life of every human, as He said "Blessed are those

servants whom the master, when he comes, will find watching...

therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at

an hour you do not except... blessed is that servant whom his

master will find so doing when he comes" (Luke 12:37,40,43).

Also  "lest,  coming  suddenly  He  find  you  sleeping"           (Mark

13:36).

 

[ 13 ] THE  BLASPHEMY  AGAINST THE  HOLY  SPIRIT (Matt. 12:31)

Question:

The verse that says "Therefore I say to you, every sin and

blasphemy  will  be  forgiven  men,  but  the  blasphemy

against the Spirit will not be forgiven "                        (Matt.   12:31)

alarm  me  very  much.    Sometimes  I  think  that  I

committed the sin of blasphemy so I fall into despair.

Please explain the meaning of the blasphemy against the

Holy Spirit?  And how is that there is no forgiveness

either in this age or in the age to come?  How does this

unforgiveness coincide with the mercy of God and His

many promises?

Answer:

All your fears are temptations from the devil to make you fall

into despair so be comforted.

As for the meaning of the blasphemy against the Spirit and

the sin that is without forgiveness, this, with the grace of

God I shall explain to you.

The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is not the unbelief in

the Holy Spirit or His Divinity or His work and it is not

 

 

insulting of the Holy Spirit.  If the atheists believe, God forgives

them for their unbelief and their mockery of God and His Holy

Spirit.  All those who followed Macedonius in his heresy and his

denial of the Divinity of the Holy Spirit, when repented the church

accepted, them and forgave them.

What then is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?  And why

there is no forgiveness for it?

The blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is the complete and

continuous refusal of any work of the Spirit in the heart which

is a life time refusal.

As a result of this refusal, man does not repent and accordingly

God does not forgive him.

God in His mercy accepts every repentance and forgives as He

said, "The one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out"

(John 6:37) and the saints were correct in their saying: "All that

the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to

Me I will by no means cast out".

[There  is  no  sin  without  forgiveness  except  that  without

repentance].

So if a person dies in his sin without repentance, he will perish as

the Lord said "Unless you repent you will all likewise perish "

(Luke 13:5).

Then non repentance till death is the only sin that is without

forgiveness.    If  the  matter  is  so,  that  brings  up  a  question:

 

 

What  is  the  relation  between  lack  of  repentance  and  the

blasphemy against the Holy Spirit?

Obviously, a person cannot repent without the work of the Spirit

in him.  For the Holy Spirit will reprove the world of sin (John

16:8) and lead the person in the spiritual life and encourage him.

He is the power that aids in every good work.

Without  the  communion  of  the  Holy  Spirit,  no  one  can

accomplish any spiritual work.

So the refusal of the communion of the Holy Spirit (2 Cor 13:14)

absolutely can not produce any good.  For all the works of

righteousness the apostle had put under the title "fruit of the

Spirit"     (GaL 5:22).  That person without any fruit will be cut

down and thrown into the fire (Matt. 3:10) & (John 15:4-5).

He who refuses the Spirit, will not repent, and will not bring

forth any spiritual fruit.

If his refusal of the Spirit is a complete and life long refusal, then

he will spend all his life without repentance, without works of

righteousness and without fruit of the Spirit, so of course he will

perish.  This is the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

It is not that the person grieves the Spirit (Eph. 4:30) or quenches

the Spirit (1Thess. 5:19) or resists the Spirit (Acts 7:51) but it is

the complete and persistent refusal of the Spirit.  So he would not

repent and would not have fruits in a righteous life.

Here we are faced with a question:

 

What if a person refuses all works of the Spirit then turns back

and accepts Him and repents?

We say that his repentance and acceptance of the Spirit even just

before the end of his life, is an indication that the Spirit of God

still works in him and led him to repentance.  Then his refusal of

the Spirit was not complete and not life long.  A case like this is

not a blasphemy against the Holy Spirit according to the definition

mentioned before.

To fall into a sin that has no forgiveness is a form of a war of

the devil against us to make us fall into despair which will

destroy us, make us depressed; and that does not help us in any

spiritual work.

To the person that asked the question I say: the mere asking of the

question is an indication of your concern about eternal fate.  This

is not blasphemy against the Spirit.

Now we need to answer the last part of the question.

How this unforgiveness coincides with the mercy of God?

God  is  always  ready  to  forgive  and  nothing  prevents  His

forgiveness, but the important thing is that the person repents to

deserve forgiveness.

If the person refuses repentance, God waits for his repentance till

the uttermost breath of his life, as happened with the thief at the

Lord's right hand.  If the person refuses to repent all his life and

refuses the work of the Spirit in him till the time of his death then

he not God-blessed be His name would be responsible for the

perishing of his soul.

 

 

[ 14 ] WHAT  IS  THE  BOOK  OF  JASHER? (Josh. 10:13)

Question:

What is the book of Jasher?  Is it one of the Books of the

Holy Bible or the Torah   (Pentateuch)?  How was it

mentioned in the Book of Joshua and in the Book of 2

Samuel and yet it is not part of the Bible?

Answer:

The word "book" could mean any book; religious or secular.

The book of Jasher is an old secular book which included

the popular songs, that were in circulation among the

Jews,  which  were  based  on  important  religious  and

secular events.  Some of these songs were military songs for

the soldiers.

This book dates back to 1000-800 BC, more than 500 years

after Moses the Prophet.  It contained things pertaining to

David the Prophet and his lamentation for king Saul.

It is not part of the Torah (Pentateuch) of Moses, for it

included events that happened many centuries after Moses.

 

People chanted some of the important historical events of

the olden times, and wrote hymns about these events and

gathered them in this book which grew by time and had

nothing to do with the Divine inspiration.

An example is: The battle of Gideon during the days of

Joshua, where the sun stood still.  The people wrote songs

about this.  These were added on to the book of Jasher.

Joshua referred to them saying "Is this not written in the

book of Jasher" (Josh. 10:13), which meant isn't this one of

the  important  current  events,  that  because  of  its  fame,

popular songs were written about, in secular books as the

book of Jasher.

Also,  the  beautiful  and  moving  song,  by  which  David

mourned king Saul and his son Jonathan, the people admired

and chanted it.  They included it in their popular secular

books, since it concerned the killing of their first king along

with the successor to his throne.  So when this event was

told in the Book of 2nd Samuel, it was said about it "indeed

it is written in the book of Jasher"                              (2 Sam. 1:17) which

meant that the lamentation of David became a popular song,

the people added it to their book of hymns known as the

Book of Jasher.  This is exactly as we speak about a

famous event that is mentioned in the Holy Bible as it is

also mentioned in the history books.

Finally: did the Jews omit it from the Torah (the Pentateuch)

for a religious reason? and the answer is clear:

 

 

A. It is not part of the Torah.  For the Torah is the five

Books  of  Moses  which  are  Genesis,  Exodus,  Leviticus,

Numbers and Deuteronomy.

B. If the Jews wanted to hide it for a religious reason,

they would not mention it in the Book of Joshua and the

Book of Samuel the Prophet.

C.   The oldest and most famous translation of the Old

Testament which is the Septuagint that was written in the

third century BC does not include this book.

 

 

[ 15 ] THE  APPEARANCE  OF  THE  LORD TO  SAUL (Acts 9 & 22)

Question:

There are two accounts in the Book of the Acts of the

Apostles about the appearance of the Lord to Saul.  It

seems that there are some contradictions between both

accounts, in what they saw or heard, please explain.

Answer:

The account of the appearance of the Lord to Saul recorded

in  the  ninth  chapter,  verse                                  7  states  "And  the  men  who

journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice but

seeing no one.  " The same incident also described in the

twenty second chapter, verse 9 states "Now those who were

with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did

not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me.  "

The   key   to   this   problem,   is   that   the   men   who

accompanied St. Paul were not on the same spiritual

level to see what he saw and to hear what he heard.

This vision was not for them, the apparition of the Lord was

not for them and the conversation of the Lord was not with

them, but that all was only for Saul of Tarsus.

 

 

Nevertheless,  there  is  no  contradiction  between  the  two

accounts as far as what the men heard or saw as we closely

examine  both  stories,  we  realise  that  the  men  who

accompanied Saul, heard his voice talking to the Lord,

but they did not hear the voice of the Lord when He

talked to Saul.

So if we read the two statements carefully, we realise what

proves that, without any contradiction:

1. Hearing a voice but seeing no one.

2. They saw the light but they did not hear the voice of Him

who spoke to Paul.

The voice that is mentioned in the first statement, is the

voice of Saul.  They heard him talking without seeing with

whom he talked.  The voice that they couldn't hear is that of

the one talking to Saul.  Then there is no contradiction as

far as the voice is concerned.

It could have been contradicting, if it had been said in the

first statement "They heard the voice of he who spoke to

me" or "heard what I heard", but the word (voice) only

meant here the voice of Saul for the spiritual level of those

men is to hear the voice of a man but not the voice of the

Lord.

The same applies to the vision also: They saw the light, but

they did not see the person who was talking to Saul.  This

is clear from the way the two statements were put:

 

 

1. seeing no one (Acts 9:7).

2. Saw the light and were afraid (Acts 22:9).

The light is one thing but the face and shape of the person

that was talking is another.

 

 

[ 16 ] CHRIST  BEFORE  THE  THIRTIETH

Question:

Why did the Bible not mention the biography of the

thirty years the Lord Christ spent before His ministry?

Did He go to China to study Buddhism as some say?

Answer:

It was not meant for the Holy Bible to be a book of

history.

If  the  Gospels  were  to  mention  all  the  events  and  the

historical details "even the world itself could not contain the

books that would be written" (John 21:25).  The details of

one day in the life of the Lord Christ on earth with all the

teachings and miracles would alone need more than one

book.

The intent of the Gospel is to be the good tidings of

salvation, telling the history of our salvation.

Therefore the Gospels started by the miraculous birth of

Christ from a Virgin, the angels involved in the story of the

Divine birth, also the genealogy of Christ, and the fulfilment

of   the   prophecies   pertaining   to   His   birth.            Then

 

they moved on to His baptism and the start of His ministry.

As an example of His childhood, His meeting with the elders

of the Jews and their astonishment of His answers (Luke

2:46)... was mentioned to point out His teaching abilities

since His young age.

But the claim that He went to China is unfounded.

This claim has no support from the Bible history or tradition.

Those who say that are anti-Christ whose purpose is to

mislead  the  people  that  Christ  took  His  teachings  from

Buddhism.    Therefore  it  was  proper  for  the  Gospel  to

mention the surpassing knowledge of Christ since His young

age so that the elders were astonished by His answers.  He

did not need to go to China or elsewhere.

The  teachings  of  the  Lord  Christ  are  superior  to

Buddhism and to any other teaching.

Any learner can discover this unmeasurable superiority.  It is

not  the  place  here  to  compare,  but  if  there  were  a

resemblance  between  His  teaching  and  Buddhism,  the

Buddhists would have believed in Him.

The magnificence of the Lord Christ is not confined only

to His teaching.  Did He also take His majestic miracles

from Buddhism?!

Did He take from Buddhism the raising of the dead, opening

the eyes of the blind, the rebuking of the sea, walking on

water,                                                           the   feeding    of    the   multitudes,   healing

 

 

the incurable diseases, casting out demons and the other

countless miracles.

Did  He  take  from  Buddhism  the  Salvation  that  He

offered to the world?

We should not let our imagination run about the thirty years

prior to His ministry.  It is enough to know that the Lord

Christ started His public ministry according to the Law

(Num. 4:3, 23 & 47; 1 Chr. 23:3) when He was thirty.

What we need to know about the story of Salvation is the

ministry of Christ after His thirtieth year, added to that His

Virginal birth and all the prophecies and miracles around it.

 

 

[ 17 ] LITTLE  OF  WINE (1 Tim. 5:23)

Question:

Is there a verse in the Bible that says "A little wine is

good for the stomach".  Does this verse encourage the

drinking of alcoholic beverages?

Answer:

There is no verse in the Bible with this wording, but this

is a common distorted saying among the people.

St. Timothy, the bishop and disciple of St. Paul the apostle,

suffered from many ailments in his digestive system, and it

was also said that he had dropsy.  The apostle prescribed to

him not to drink much water and to take; as a treatment for

his special condition; a little wine, so he said to him "No

longer drink only water, but use a little wine for your

stomach's sake and your frequent infirmities."                   (1 Tim.

5:23).

We notice here that we have a specific patient, who has a

particular disease, needs a special treatment suitable for his

condition in a time medical sciences had not developed as it

is nowadays and at that time wine was used as medicine.

 

 

Then the Bible did not give a general ruling that a little

of wine is good for the stomach but the apostle gave a

treatment for a specific condition.

So if you had the same condition as Timothy and were in the

same time, this advice would be suitable for you.  Nowadays,

even if you have the same disease of St. Timothy medical

sciences will offer you the most recent advances in remedies.

Notice, in the parable of the good Samaritan, that when he

found  a  wounded  man  by  the  road,  "he  bandaged  his

wounds,  pouring  on  oil  and  wine"                           (Luke   10:34).    The

alcohol in the wine was used as an antiseptic to control

bleeding.

So all what we understand from the advice that was given to

St. Timothy is that:

The wine was prescribed as a treatment and not as a

pleasure and only for a special case.

This is also a matter of conscience; does every one who

partake of it now, take it only as a treatment and has no

other suitable treatment except it?

We are speaking about wine as a treatment.  The subject of

wine and alcoholic beverages in detail is not the question.

 

 

[ 18 ] THE  POTTER  AND  THE  CLAY (Rom. 9:20-21)

Question:

Don't we say that man is free to choose?  Then why are

these verses mentioned in the Bible: " But indeed, O

man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing

formed say to him who formed it, "Why have you made me

like this?"  Does not the potter have power over the clay,

from the same lump to make one vessel for honour and

another for dishonour? "(Rom. 9:20-21)

Was it my fault then, if the potter made me a vessel of

dishonour?!

Answer:

Yes, the potter has power over the clay to make of it what

he desires, a vessel for honour or a vessel of dishonour and

the clay cannot say "Why did you make me like this?".

But the potter also is wise and just.

One of the wonderful explanations that I read about this

subject:

56

 

That the potter, with all his freedom and authority,

wisely looked at the piece of day.  If he found it good,

soft and smooth, he would make of it a vessel for honour;

for its quality qualifies it for that.

It is illogical that a wise potter with a piece of high quality

clay, will make of it a vessel of dishonour, that would be

carelessness, far be it from God to do so!

If the clay was rough and of poor quality and not fit to be a

vessel for honour, the potter, because of the clay condition,

would make of it a vessel of dishonour.

With all possibilities, he will try to make of the clay, all the

clay in front of him, vessels of honour as far as the quality of

the clay allows it.

Then, after all, it depends on the quality of the clay and

how good it is, recognising the authority of the potter and

his  freedom  adding  to  that  this  wisdom  and  justice.

Therefore God said " Look, as the clay is in the potter's

hand, so are you in My hand, O house of Israel!  "The

instant  I  speak  concerning  a  nation  and  concerning  a

kingdom, to pluck up, to pull down, and to destroy it,  "if

that nation against whom I have spoken turns from its evil, I

will relent of the disaster that I thought to bring upon it.

"And  the  instant  I  speak  concerning  a  nation  and

concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it,  "if it does

evil in My sight so that it does not obey My voice, then I will

relent  concerning  the  good  with  which  I  said  I  would

benefit it." (Jer. 18:6-10).  Then the clay has the chance to

improve or change its fate.

This reminds us of the parable of the sower that went out

to sow (Matt. 13:3-8).

The sower is the same as the seeds are the same and the

sower wishes all to grow, but according to the nature of the

earth on which the seeds fell, was the result, growing or

spoiling.                                                       The  sower  did  not  prepare  the  seeds  to  be

devoured by birds, or wither away or be choked by the

thorns but the nature of the earth controlled that.

Do not say then, "was it my fault that I became a vessel of

dishonour?!"

Be a good and soft clay in the hand of the great potter

and be assured that He will make of you a vessel of

honour, and the matter is still in your hand.

 

 

[ 19 ] IS  THIS  METEMPHSYCHOSIS? (Matt. 11:14)

Question:

What  does  the  Bible  mean  by  saying  that  John  the

Baptist came in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke

1:17), and its saying: he is Elijah who is to come. (Matt.

11:14).  Is this metempsychosis (reincarnation)?   Did the

spirit of Elijah reincarnate in John?

Answer:

The coming of John in the spirit of Elijah, means he

came  with  the  same  style  of  Elijah,  his  manner,  his

method and his spirit of doing things.

1. Elijah was ascetic, and also was John the Baptist.  Elijah

“was a hairy man, and wore a leather belt around his waist"

(2 Kin. 1:8), and John "himself was clothed in camel's hair,

with a leather belt around his waist" (Matt. 3:4).  They both

had the same look and same clothes.

Elijah lived in the wilderness, on Mount Carmel                 (1 Kin.

18:19 & 24), in a cave on Horeb, the mountain of God (1

Kin. 18:9), in an upper room (1 Kin. 17:19) or at the brook

cherish    (1 Kin.   1 7:3) and John the Baptist was in the

wilderness (Matt. 3:1; Luke 3:2) and then beside the Jordan

river.  He was the voice of one crying in the wilderness

(Mark 1:3).

2. Elijah started with the life of solitude and contemplation

and the Lord chose him for ministry and prophecy.  John also

lived  the  life  of  solitude  in  the  wilderness;  then  started

preaching repentance.

3. Elijah was courageous and firm in the truth.  He killed the

prophets of Baal (1 Kin 18:40), and also said " And fire

came down from heaven and consumed him and his fifty." (2

Kin. 1:10).  John the Baptist was harsh in admonishing the

sinners.  He used to say, "And even now the axe is laid to the

root of the trees. Therefore every tree which does not bear

good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire " (Luke 3:9).

4.  Elijah rebuked king Ahab and told him, "Is that you, 0

troubler of Israel?... but you and your father's house

have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the

LORD and have followed the Baals " (1 Kin. 18:18).  He

also rebuked and warned him for the slaying of Naboth

the Jezreelite (1 Kin. 21:20-29), and he also vowed the

punishment of queen Jezebel.

John the Baptist rebuked king Herod saying, "It is not lawful

for you to have your brother's wife" (Mark 6:18).

Then John was acting with the same spirit as Elijah and his

method.

Elisha requested from his teacher Elijah before he was taken

away to heaven, "Let a double portion of your spirit be upon

me" (1 Kin. 2:9) and it was.  So when Elisha performed

miracles with the same strength as Elijah and the sons of the

prophets saw him they said, "The spirit of Elijah rests on

Elisha and they came to meet him, and bowed to the ground

before him."                                                        (2 Kin. 2:14-15).

If the matter is transmigration of souls, what is the meaning

of the phrase "double portion of Elijah's spirit".   Did Elijah

have two spirits?  Did his spirit reincarnate in Elisha before it

was reincarnated in John?!

It was a double strength, double the power that was in

Elijah, that came down upon Elisha and the same power

was in John.

When the apostle said, " endeavouring to keep the unity of

the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body and one

Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling "

(Eph. 4:3-4), he did not mean literally that we all should

have one spirit or one body but the same course, way, and

style.  The same meaning about the phrase, "One heart and

one soul", that was said about those who believed in the

apostolic age. (Acts 4:32)

Christianity does not believe in the reincarnation of the

spirits.

When the spirit leaves a body, it does not return again to this

body or to any other body.  If it is righteous it goes to

 

 

Paradise as the spirit of the thief, but if it is evil it goes to

Hades as the spirit of the rich man while Lazarus' spirit went

to Paradise.

You find reincarnation in a religion like Brahmanism or

in a philosophy like Plutonism.

The Brahmans believe that the soul transmigrates from one

body   to   another   and   these   reincarnations   represent

punishment or reward for that spirit.  The spirit goes on like

this until it is freed to the upper space.  This condition is

called "Nirvana" which is reached by much asceticism.

As for Plato, he saw that the number of spirits were limited

so that it was necessary for the spirits to transmigrate from

one body to another.

These   beliefs   and   religions   have   no   relation   to

Christianity.

[ 20 ] ABOUT  THE  MEANING  OF  THE "MAMMON  OF  UNRIGHTEOUSNESS" (Luke 16:9)

Question:

What is the meaning of the saying of the Lord Christ

"Make friends for yourselves by unrighteous mammon "

(Luke 16:9)?  Can the money that we gain by injustice or

through sin in general, be accepted by God, or can we

use it to do good, or to win friends with it?

Answer:

"Mammon of Unrighteousness" does not mean the illicit

money that the person gains unjustly or through any

other sin for that is unacceptable to God.

For God and the church do not accept this money.

The psalm said "The oil of the sinner will not anoint my

head", and in Deuteronomy "You shall not bring the wages

of a harlot... to the house of the Lord your God" (Deut.

23:18).

God does not accept the good works that come through

evil ways.

63

 

The oblations that are offered to the church, bring blessings

and are mentioned in the litany of crops and in the litany of

oblations before God.  Therefore there are rejected offerings

which the church does not accept and does not allow in the

house of the Lord, if the church knows that it came by

wrong means, and the canon of the apostles explained that

subject.

Then what is the mammon of unrighteousness by which we

should make friends?

The mammon of unrighteousness is not the money that

you gain unjustly but the money that you keep unjustly.

What does that mean?  When would the money be called so?

Here is an example:

God gave you money, with it He gave you the commandment

of paying tithes.  Then the tithes does not belong to you.  It

belongs to the Lord, the church, and the poor.  If you do not

pay it, you are being unjust to those who deserve it, and by

keeping this money you are stealing from them.  This tithes

that you did not give to their rightful owners is mammon

of unrighteousness you are keeping.

The Lord says in the Book of Malachi the Prophet " Will a

man rob God? Yet you have robbed Me! But you say, 'In

what way have we robbed You?' In tithes and offerings ".

(Mal. 3:8).

64

 

So if you keep the tithes, the first fruits and the votive

offerings, you will be unjust to the poor, orphan, and the

widow, and they are all crying to the Lord for your injustice

towards them.

Spending this money for your own purposes entails injustice

to the house of God.  This money belongs to God and His

children and is not yours.

We can say that also about all the idle wealth that you

might have and in the mean time the poor need it and

they are in trouble because of their need.

Then  make  friends  to  your  self  by  this  mammon  of

unrighteousness.  Give it to those in need of it, satisfy their

needs.  They will become your friends and pray for you and

the Lord will respond and bless your money and you will be

rewarded more and more.

 

[ 21 ] WHY  FORGIVE  THEM? (Luke 23:34)

Question:

Why did our Lord Jesus Christ say on the cross "Father,

forgive them... " (Luke 23:34) and did not say by His own

authority "your sins are forgiven...

Answer:

The  Lord  Christ  on  the  cross  was  representing  all

mankind.

He represented all humanity in paying the wages of sin to the

Divine Justice... " All we like sheep have gone astray; We

have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has

laid on Him the iniquity of us all."                            (Is.   53:6).  For this

reason, He was on the cross "a burnt sacrifice... a sweet

aroma unto the Lord" (Lev. 1:9), and He was a sin offering,

and also a "Passover" (1 Cor. 5:7).

He was offering to the Father an atonement for our sins, and

as He offered this sacrifice, He said to the Father "forgive

them".

In other words: "I have satisfied the Justice that You, 0

Father, have demanded, and therefore, forgive them".

66

 

I have paid the wages of sin and shed My blood to redeem

them, therefore forgive them".  He spoke as an advocate on

behalf of all humanity before the Father, as a representative

of every sinner from Adam until the end of all ages.

In His intercession, He was announcing His abdication of His

rights toward His crucifiers, those who insulted Him without

reason, condemned Him to die unjustly, who falsely accused

Him, and stirred the crowd against Him without knowing

what they were doing.

He said that as a representative on their behalf as an

intercessor for them on the cross.

However,  in  other  circumstances,  He  performed  the

forgiveness by Himself as God.  He said to the sick man

with palsy "Your sins are forgiven" (Mark 2:5) giving the

evidence of His Divinity and His authority to forgive sins.

Also He said to the sinful woman in the house of Simon the

Pharisee "Your sins are forgiven.  "                            (Luke   7:48).   His

authority to forgive sins did not depart from Him on the

cross, for He forgave the thief on His right, and said to him

"Today you will be with Me in Paradise"                         (Luke   23:43)

declaring His forgiveness of his sins, without which he could

not enter Paradise.

67

 

[ 22 ] THE  MEANING  OF CERTAIN  WORDS

Question:

We read in the Bible some words which need to be

translated  or  explained  in  simple  terms,  as  in  the

following:

Selah : Which is mentioned quite often in the psalms, as in Psalms 46 to 50.

Maran-a'tha : mentioned in (1 Cor. 16:22).

Anathema: mentioned in (Gal. 1:8-9) and (1 Cor. 16:22).

Kedar: as in (Ps. 120:5) and (Song. 1:5).

Please explain the meaning of these words, so that we may understand them.

Answer:

SELAH

It is a word that is repeated in the Psalms 71 times.  It means

a musical stop to change the tune to another, for the psalms

were   sung   associated   with   music   at   the   time   of

David, Asaph and others.  At a certain place of the song, a

sign was given to stop to give a chance to the musicians to

adjust their musical instruments to a new tune.

MARAN-A'THA

The word "Mar", in Syrian and Aramaic means Master or

Lord.

The word 'a'tha" means come.

The whole word means "the Lord comes" or "the Lord will

come".

It was an expression that Christians used to greet each other

with during the apostolic age, comforting each other with the

coming of the Lord.  In other words, they say to each other

"rejoice, the Lord is coming again".

Sometimes, they wrote it at the end of their letters, as St.

Paul concluded his first epistle to the Corinthians.

ANATHEMA

It is a Greek word that means "curse", and it also means the

"cutting off" or the excommunication from the church.  As in

the Anathemas that were written by St. Kyrollos (Cyril) the

pillar of faith during the heresy of Nestor upon every one

who would violate the canons of faith.

 

St.  Paul  used  it  in  his  epistle  to  the  Galatians  to

excommunicate by his ecclesiastical authority everyone who

taught against the teaching of the apostles, even if it was an

angel, he said "But even if we, or an angel from heaven,

preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached

to you, let him be accursed.(anathema).  " (Gal. 1:8).  He

used the same statement at the end of his first epistle to the

Corinthians.  This statement is very well known in the church

canons.

KEDAR

Kedar is the second son of Ishmael, the son of Hagar (Gen.

25:13).  The area where he lived was called after his name

also (Jer. 49:28).  The children of Kedar lived in tents that

were black in colour or looked black because of the smoke

of the fire that warmed them at night.  Perhaps this is what

the virgin of the Song of songs meant when she said "I am

dark, but lovely, 0 daughters of Jerusalem, like the tents of

Kedar... " (Song. 1:5).  The psalmist mentioned "the tents of

Kedar" as a sojourn country (Ps. 120:5).

 

 

[ 23 ] THE  RICH  AND  ENTERING  THE KINGDOM (Mark 10:24)

Question:

The Lord said: "It is easier for a camel to go through the

eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom

of God." (Mark 10:25)

Does  this  mean  that  all  the  rich  cannot  enter  the

kingdom?

Answer:

No, for some rich people are righteous and saintly.

The Lord made this statement as a comment on the conduct

of the rich young man whose riches hindered him from

following the Lord.  He went away grieved for he had great

possessions.

The Lord did not say that the entrance of the rich into the

kingdom was impossible but He said it was hard.  He did not

mention all the rich but He said: "Children, how hard it is

for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of

God!" (Mark 10:24).

Therefore,  there  is  a  specific  shortcoming,  which  is  the

dependence on money not on God.  This shortcoming then

 

develops from depending on money, to the love of money

and its worship, to being a competitor against God.  The

Lord said "No one can serve two masters.. You cannot serve

God and mammon" (Matt. 6:24).

Those who allow money to compete with God in their

hearts will find it difficult to enter the kingdom.

This is exactly what happened with this young rich man.  He

could observe all the commandments from his youth, except

his love for money, for it was indispensable to him.

There is also another flaw that can prevent the rich from

entering the kingdom and that is the stinginess in spending

money and consequently the cruelty of the heart toward

the poor.

An example for this is the rich man who lived at the time of

Lazarus the beggar who desired to be fed with the crumbs

which fell from the rich man's table.  The rich man did not

have any pity toward this beggar, for in his cruelty of heart,

he left the dogs to lick his sores. (Luke 16:19-21).

In spite of all that the rich can be saved and enter into

the kingdom.

The rich that owns the money and does not allow the money

to own him.  He owns the money, but does not allow the

love of money to enter his heart to prevent him to love God

and the neighbour.  He spends his money in charitable acts.

 

 

The Bible gives us examples for saintly rich people like

Job the Righteous...

Job was the richest man in the east in his days, and the Bible

gives us a detailed account of his wealth before his trial (Job

1:2 & 3) and after (Job 42:12).  The Lord Himself testified

for Job saying: "There is none like him on the earth, a

blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns

evil" (Job 1:8).  He gave to the poor, he was as father to

them, and he caused the widow's heart to sing for joy, he

was eyes to the blind, and he was feet to the lame.  He

delivered the poor who cried out and he who had no helper.

(Job 29:12-16).

The Lord blessed Job's wealth after the tribulation and

doubled it.

For the wealth in his hand was a tool for the good and

also for the building of the kingdom.

Also the Patriarchs Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, were very

rich in their times.  Abraham was like a king who could

defeat four kings, and was received by kings upon his return

from the battle (Gen. 14).  He was generous and had great

love for God and for people.  In the other world, Abraham

had a great gulf fixed between him and the rich man in the

Lazarus parable                                                   (Luke   16:26).  This scene gives us the

difference between two rich people, one in bliss, and the

other in torment.

 

 

The gospel gives us another example of a holy rich man

as Abraham, that is, Joseph from Arimathea.

St. Joseph of Arimathea was worthy to take the body of

Jesus to wrap and bury it in his new tomb.  It was said about

him that he was a rich man (Matt. 27:57) and in spite of that

he was waiting for the kingdom of God (Mark 15:43).  The

Gospel of St. Luke said about him that he was "A council

member, a good and just man." (Luke 23:50) Joseph of

Arimathea  was  one  of  the  rich  men  who  entered  the

kingdom.

We should also mention the righteous rich people who

lived during the apostolic age.

The Book of Acts says about them: " Nor was there anyone

among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of

lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the

things that were sold, and laid them at the apostles' feet;

and they distributed to each as anyone had need.                (Acts

4:34-35).  An example of these people was Joseph who was

also named Barnabas by the apostles (Acts 4:36-37).  He was

the one that the Holy Spirit chose to serve with St. Paul

(Acts 13:2).

History also gives us other examples of holy rich people

who entered the kingdom of God.

St. Melania, who was very rich, spent much of her money

on monasteries and on building churches.  She then chose the

monastic life after she was widowed.

 

St. Paula, who sponsored St. Jerome and his monastic life,

built a monastery and a convent in Palestine.  She became

the  abbess  of  that  convent  after  her  widowhood.    Her

daughter  "Yustokhiom"  became  the  superior  after  her

departure.

Another   example   for   these   righteous   rich   people   is

"Ibrahim   El-Gouhary"   who   spent   his   money   on

maintaining   churches,   monks,   monasteries   and   the

construction of holy places.

Wealth is not a hindrance toward the kingdom, but the

hindrance is the heart...

The problem is: that the heart surrenders to the love of

wealth, and it becomes a burden to give even the tithes and

gather money without a certain goal in mind, and money

becomes  an  idol  that  he  worships,  which  becomes  a

hindrance to the love of God.

The rich man who uses his money in charitable acts in

sacrificial love is not the rich man that our Lord Jesus Christ

described.

A reference to this subject is a book written by St. Clement

of Alexandria.  He was the dean of the school of Alexandria

who preceded Origen.  The name of the book is "The rich

man who can be saved".  This book has been translated by

father Mousa Wahba, and is recommended for reading.

 

 

[ 24 ] WHICH  HEAVEN  DID  THEY ASCEND  TO? (John 3:13)

Question:

It was said about Enoch that he ascended to heaven

(Gen. 5:24), and the same was said about Elijah the

prophet (2 Kin. 2:11).  St. Paul also said that he was

caught up to the third heaven, whether in the body or

out of the body, he did not know (2 Cor. 12:2).

How then did our Lord Jesus Christ say to Nicodemus: "

No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down

from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven."

(John   3:13)?    Did  not  Enoch  and  Elijah  ascend  to

heaven? Also, what is the third heaven? and how many heavens

are there in the Bible?

Answer:

The heaven that the Lord descended from and again

ascended to is not the same heaven that Enoch and

Elijah ascended to.

The heavens that we know of which the Bible mentioned are:

 

 

1. The heavens of the birds.  The heaven where birds fly is

the atmosphere that surrounds us.  The Bible mentions the

birds of the air (Gen. 1:26) and (Gen. 7:3). This heaven has

the clouds which carry rain (Gen. 8:2) and where aeroplanes

now fly, whether below or above.

2. The second heaven, is higher than the heaven of the

birds. It is the heaven of the sun, the moon and stars.  In

other words the firmament as it was called by God: "And

God called the firmament Heaven " (Gen. 1:8).

The Bible says "The stars of heaven" (Mark 13:25), and God

said about it: "Let there be lights in the firmament of the

heavens... to give light on the earth... then God made two

great lights... and the stars" (Gen. 1:14-17).  This heaven is

different from the heaven of the birds.  This heaven will pass

away on the last day "Heaven and earth pass away" (Matt.

5:18) and as St. John said in Revelation: "And I saw a new

heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first

earth has passed away.  Also there was no more sea" (Rev.

21:1).

3. The third heaven is Paradise.

That was the heaven that St. Paul ascended to, and said

about himself: "Such a one was caught up to the third

heaven... he was caught up into Paradise" (2 Col. 12:2-4).

It is the same heaven about which the Lord said to the thief

on His right: "You will be with Me in Paradise"                  (Luke

23:43).  It is the same place to which the Lord relocated

 

 

the spirits of the righteous people of the Old Testament, who

waited on the hope of salvation and to which the spirits of

the righteous ascend now till the day of resurrection when all

will be moved to the heavenly Jerusalem (Rev. 21).

4. The heaven of heavens, is above and beyond all the

previously mentioned heavens.

The psalmist said about it: "Praise Him, you heavens of

heavens" (Ps. 148:4).  This is the heaven about which the

Lord said: "No one has ascended to heaven but He who

came down from heaven, that is, the Son of Man who is in

heaven. (John 3:13).

It is the heaven where the throne of God is.

The psalmist said about it: "The Lord's throne is in heaven;"

(Ps. 11:4; 103:19).  The Lord commanded us not to swear

by heaven, for it is God's throne (Matt. 5:34).  This is what

is mentioned in (Isaiah 66:1) and what St. Stephen also saw

during his stoning: "I saw the heavens opened and the Son of

man standing at the right hand of God.  " (Acts 7:55 & 56).

All  the  heavens  that  humans  have  reached,  are  nothing

compared to the heaven of heavens.  For this reason, it was

said about our Lord: "Has passed through the heavens"

(Heb. 4:14), "And has become higher than the heavens"

(Heb. 7:26).

 

 

Solomon the Wise mentioned the heaven of heavens on the

day he consecrated the temple.  He said to the Lord in his

prayer: "Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot

contain You" (1 Kin. 8:27).

This heaven of heavens, no human has, ascended to.  The

Lord alone came down from it and again ascended to it.

Proverbs  say:  "Who  has  ascended  into  heaven,  or

descended?.. "what is His name, and what is His Son's name,

if you know?" (Pr. 30:4).

Therefore, the heavens that the Bible mentioned are:

1. The heaven of the birds.

2. The heaven of the stars, the firmament.

3. The third heaven, or Paradise, and

4. The heaven of heavens to which no human has ever

ascended.

 

 

[ 25 ] WAS  THE  SIN OF  ADAM  ADULTERY? (Gen. 3:2)

Question:

Some people say that the sin of Adam and Eve was

adultery.  As the Bible does not say this, therefore how

did this idea come about?  And what is the right answer

for it, if it is wrong?.

Answer:

The origin and the source of this idea was "Origen" who

exaggerated in his interpretation of the Bible using the

allegorical method.

He tried to emphasise the meaning of symbols (Allegories) to

include everything, even the sin of Adam, the trees of the

garden of Eden.  He said that the sin of Adam was adultery

providing the evidence as follows:

He said that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil was

in the middle of the garden, as the sexual organ is in the

middle of the human body.  He said by eating from the tree,

it  was  said  "Now  Adam  knew  Eve  his  wife,  and  she

conceived" (Gen. 4:1).  He also said by their sexual sin,

Adam and Eve became ashamed and hid themselves for

 

they were naked, and they sewed fig leaves together to cover

themselves (Gen. 3:7).  Origen furthered his idea about the

sexual sin by saying that the whole world is controlled by

sexual immorality.

However, this opinion has many objections:

1. He said that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil

was in the middle of the garden, and likewise, the sexual

organs are also in the middle of the body.  So, if we consider

that the sexual organ is the tree as Origen explained, the

body would have become the garden, and we would have

two gardens: Adam and eve and two trees (in each of them

there is a tree).  In this case, Adam would have eaten the

fruit from the tree of Eve, and Eve would have eaten in turn

from the tree of Adam.  Consequently, God could not have

placed Adam in the garden according to the Bible (Gen.

2:14), but Adam himself becomes Eve's garden!!  However,

the Bible says that God placed him in the garden of Eden to

tend it and keep it (Gen. 2:15).

According to the allegorical interpretation, what is the

garden of Eden then?  And what does it mean to tend it

and to keep it?

2. Also, what would be the meaning of the rest of the

symbols in the garden of Eden?

What is the meaning of the river which went out of Eden to

water the garden, and from there it parted and became four

river beads (Gen. 2:10)? what are these four rivers?  Also,

what do the rest of the members of the body represent?

 

Do they represent other trees in the garden? Are the fruits of

these trees allowed?

3. The tree of life was also in the middle of the garden

(Gen. 2:9).

The tree of the knowledge of good and evil was not alone in

the center of the garden.  Does the tree of life represent also

something in the body if we went along with Origen?  How

can  we  understand  then  the  meaning  of  the  Cherubim

guarding the way to the tree of life by flaming sword (Gen.

3:24).

4. How can we understand the dismissal of man from the

garden if the garden symbolised his body?

How did he depart or was driven out of it?  And how could

he live outside his body?  How then did he separate from the

tree of the knowledge of good and evil that was in the

middle of the garden (his body)?

Origen's   allegorical   interpretation   cannot   provide   any

meaningful   understanding,   but   it   only   causes   endless

confusions.

An important question we put before us if the sin was

adultery.

5.   If   Adam’s   sin   was   adultery   what   was   the

commandment?  Did Adam understand it?

Was the commandment "Do not commit adultery" and Adam

disobeyed it?  What could Adam and Eve understand from a

statement that says "do not commit adultery"? as they were

 

simple and innocent, and they did know the meaning of such

a statement.  The evidence for their innocence was that they

were naked but were not ashamed (Gen. 2:25).  Did God

explain for them the meaning of such a commandment?

This is impossible, for God Himself would have opened

their own eyes!!  God forbid.

Was there no commandment?  This would be  against  the

Scripture.  Did they not understand the commandment?  In

this   case,   there   would   be   no   punishment,   and   the

commandment would be meaningless.

6. If the sin was adultery, they would have committed

this sin at the same time.

What is the meaning therefore of Eve taking of the fruit and

eating it, and then giving it to Adam? (Gen. 3:6) If the sin

was adultery, they would have eaten of the fruit at the same

time.

7.  The phrase "And the eyes of them both were opened,

and they knew that they were naked" (Gen. 3:7) was

after eating the fruit.

If the sin was adultery, their eyes would have been opened

first to know that they were naked, and then they would

commit the sin of Adultery.  Since, it was impossible for

them  to  commit  a  sin  as  this  with  their  eyes  closed.

 

8. Shame and the knowing of Adam to Eve was not their

sin, but the sin was in their downgrading themselves to

the level of the flesh in lusting food.

For this reason, it was said that Adam knew Eve his wife

after they had been driven out of the garden (Gen.                    4:1).

This did not happen in the garden.  This shame also was after

eating of the fruit and not during or before eating of it.

Adam was spiritually free of the lust for material things, and

of eating, and of the sensual lusts.  When all these things

happened by eating from the tree, he downgraded himself to

the level of the lust of flesh, and it became easier for him to

complete the works of the flesh by committing the sexual

act.  This happened due to the fall, but it is not the fall itself.

9.  If  we  could  consider  that  the  sexual  relationship

between Adam and Eve was a sin of adultery, then what

is the meaning of (Gen. 1:28) "Be fruitful, and multiply,

and fill the earth... "

This blessing was mentioned on the sixth day, before the

Bible said (Gen. 1:31) "And God saw, that every thing, that

He made, and behold it was very good... "

10. If the sin was adultery, then there was no need for

the enticement of the devil to Eve to become like God.

The enticement of the serpent to Eve was not to commit

adultery, but it was to become like God knowing good and

 

evil (Gen. 3:5).  The sin was sin of pride.  It was the desire

to become equal to God.  In the same sin, Satan himself fell,

when he said in his heart "I will be like the Most High (Is.

14:14).

In this sin, the sin of becoming like God, Eve fell then Adam

followed her.

11. The wide spread of the sin of adultery today is like

the wide spread of many other sins...

The love of greatness, the love to possess, the love of one's

self, the love of wealth, the love to eat (gluttony), anger,

lying... all these sins are widespread even in the young age

(who have no knowledge of the sin of adultery) and in very

advanced age (incapable to commit that sin).

12. To say that the sin of Adam and Eve was adultery is

groundless.

It developed through the unacceptable allegorical way of

interpretation.  The allegorical way of interpretation has its

own  beauty  and  depth,  only  if  it  is  supported  by  the

Scriptures.

(*See my book "Adam and Eve" which analyses Adam and Eve's sins into 27 sins)

 

[ 26 ] WHO  IS  MELCHIZEDEK? (Gen. 14; Heb. 7)

Question:

Who is Melchizedek?  What is the meaning of what is

said in the psalm "You are a priest forever According to

the order of Melchizedek." (Ps. 110:4). What is the order

of Melchizedek?

Answer:

The first time that the name Melchizedek was mentioned in

the Bible was when he received our father Abraham on his

way back from the defeat of Chedorlaomer and the kings

that were with him (Gen. 14:17-20).  On this occasion it was

said about Melchizedek that:

1. He was king of Salem (probably Jerusalem).

2. He was the priest of the most high God and that he

brought out bread and wine.

3.  He blessed Abraham and Abraham gave him his tithes.

St.  Paul  acknowledged  Melchizedek  is  greater  than

Abraham.

For the inferior is blessed by the superior (Heb. 7:7), and

that Abraham gave him tithes. Accordingly, the priesthood

 

of Melchizedek is greater than that of Aaron (who is the

posterity of Abraham).

The priesthood of Christ and of Christianity is according

to the order of Melchizedek for the following points:

1. It is priesthood that offers bread and wine and not animal

sacrifices. For the animal                                           (or the bloody) sacrifices, were

according to the order of Aaron's priesthood.  It symbolised

the sacrifice of Christ, and was abolished by the sacrifice of

Christ on the cross.  Christ instituted for us the sacrament of

Eucharist (Body and Blood) by bread and wine according to

the order of Melchizedek.

2. It is a priesthood that is not inherited.  Christ was from

the tribe of Judah (according to the flesh), and He was not

from  the  tribe  of  Levi  from  whom  was  the  Aaronic

priesthood.  Christ did not inherit the priesthood, neither did

all  the  apostles  of  Christ.    All  the  priests  in  the  New

Testament do not inherit their priesthood.

3.  The priesthood of Melchizedek is higher than the Aaronic

priesthood.  St. Paul explained this point in (Heb. 7).

It was said about Melchizedek that he was in the likeness

of the Son of God.

This is true from the points that have been mentioned.  St.

Paul says also about him " without father, without mother,

without genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor

 

end of life, but made like the Son of God, remains a priest

continually." (Heb. 7:3).

We  should  not  take  these  words  literally,  otherwise

Melchizedek would be God.

Even literally we cannot say that he is like the Son of God,

because  he  has  no  father,  but  Christ  has  a  father,  the

Heavenly Father, and he had no mother while Christ Has a

mother, the Virgin St. Mary.

But Melchizedek had no father, no mother, no descent in

his priesthood.

In other words he did not get his priesthood through his

descent from a father or a mother and so is Christ.  This

coincides with what St. Paul said " And indeed those who

are of the sons of Levi, who receive the priesthood, have a

commandment to receive tithes from the people according to

the law, that is, from their brethren, though they have come

from the loins of Abraham;  but he whose genealogy is not

derived  from  them  received  tithes  from  Abraham  and

blessed him who had the promises." (Heb. 7:5 & 6).

This means that Melchizedek did not descend from Aaron, or

from the tribe of priesthood and the expression "with no

father and no mother" means the same.

St.  Paul  explained  further  by  applying  this  statement  to

Christ "For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to

another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the

altar." (Heb. 7:13).

 

Furthermore, the Scriptures did not mention anything about

the descent of Melchizedek, who was his father or mother.

As if the Scripture says about him "Without father that we

know of, or mother that we are acquainted with".

The Bible said also about him "Having neither beginning

of days nor end of life... "

This means that he entered the history abruptly, and left it

also abruptly without knowing the beginning of his days nor

the  end  of  his  life.    He  appeared  at  a  certain  time  to

accomplish  a  mission  and  to  become  a  symbol,  without

knowing his history or descent.

But Christ on the other hand, according to the flesh, His

days are known.

The day of His birth, the day of His death on the cross and

the day of His ascension are known.  However, according to

His Divinity, He has no beginning nor end.

Nevertheless,   Melchizedek   did   not   typify   Christ

according to His Divinity.  His mention in the Scriptures

(Gen.  14; Ps.   110 & Heb. 7) was only for his priestly

function.

The  opinion  that  says  that  Melchizedek  was  Christ

Himself, has several objections: the saying of the apostle

that he is like the Son of God, and that he is after the

similitude   of   Melchizedek,   and   after   the   order   of

Melchizedek (Heb. 7:3,15 & 17).  If he is the same person,

 

the apostle would not have said "like"-, "similitude"-, "order".

The translation of the name indicates also that Christ is not the

same person Melchizedek.

His  name's  meaning  is  the  king  of  peace  or  the  king  of

righteousness, does not mean Christ, but a mere symbol.

The translation of names as to their relation to God reflects wonders:

Elija                                                                    : My God is Yahweh.

Elishah                                                                  : God is salvation.

Isiah                                                                    : God saves Elihu: He is God (Job 32:2).

Samuel:                                                                  : The name of God or God hears.

Elijah                                                                   : God is father (Num. 1:9).

Elizur                                                                   : God is rock (Num. 1:5).

Elimelech                                                                : God is king (Ru. 1:2).

Elisha :God is salvation (2 Sam. 5:15).

No one of these people claimed, in regard of his name, to be

appearances of God in the Old Testament.  We should also reflect

on the meaning of the angel's name and many other names in the

Old Testament, but the time is lacking.

The personality of Melchizedek is one of the personalities that

baffled the Bible scholars.

Many   arguments   have   been   made,   most   of   which   are

contradictory.  It suffices for us to say that it is a symbol of the

priesthood of Christ without going into the details which would

lead  to  misconceptions  and  misunderstandings,  and  which  the

Bible does not substantiate.

 

[ 27 ] DO  NOT  BE  OVERLY  RIGHTEOUS (Eccl. 7:16)

Question:

What is the meaning of the saying of the Bible "Do not

be overly righteous"?

Answer:

The saying of the Bible " Do not be overly righteous, Nor be

overly wise " (Eccl. 7:16), does not mean the person should

not grow spiritually and does not mean there is a behaviour

higher than the righteousness that God requires from us.

It means that the person behave within his spiritual level

without spiritual jumps, otherwise he could be bit by a

strike of self-righteousness.

The spiritual person does not "think of himself more highly

than he ought to think, but to think soberly" (Rom. 12:3).

Don't walk in the way of righteousness over zealously but

step by step until you reach.  The evil can easily fight with

strikes  of  self-righteousness  pushing  a  person  to  higher

degrees that he spiritually cannot sustain.  The person will be

unable  to  continue,  then  falls  into  distress  and  despair.

During his short practice in these spiritual levels he might fall

into  arrogance  and  judging  others.                              He  will  murmur

against his spiritual father as if he does not wish perfection

for him.

So do not be righteous in your eyes, do not be overly wise,

go on slowly and quietly without jumping into levels that you

might not be able to continue in, and then might be troubled

spiritually.

 

[ 28 ] DID  JUDAS  PARTAKE  OF  THE  HOLY COMMUNION? (Mark 14; John 13)

Question:

Did Judas partake of the Holy Communion along with

the disciples on Maundy Thursday?.

Answer:

The  opinion  of  the  fathers  of  the  church  is  that  he

attended the Passover but not the Eucharist.

This is clear from the saying of the Lord Christ about His

betrayer "It is one of the twelve, who dips with Me in the

dish." (Mark 14:20).  The phrase "dips... in the dish" goes

along with the Passover but not partaking from the body and

blood of the Lord where He broke the bread and gave them,

then tasted from the cup and gave them. (1 Cor. 11:23-25).

The Gospel of St. John said "having dipped the bread He

gave it to Judas Iscariot... now after the piece of bread,

Satan entered him... having received the piece of bread, he

then went out immediately.  And it was night.  "                (John

13:26-30).

 

Clearly, in the Sacrament of Eucharist there is no dipping of

bread but this was the Passover.

Furthermore, if Judas did partake of the Body and Blood,

then he partook it unworthy not discerning the Lord's Body,

and  partook  judgment  to  himself                             (1  Cor.   11:27-29).

However, the fathers said that he partook of the Passover

only; then went to carry out his crime.  The Lord gave His

covenant only to the eleven disciples.

 

 

[ 29 ] WERE  SOLOMON  AND  SAMSON  SAVED? (Heb. 11; 2 Sam. 7)

Question:

We know that when Samson sinned and broke his vow,

Grace forsook him and he was taken captive (Judg. 16).

We know also that Solomon was enticed by his women,

built high places for their gods and did not keep his

covenant with the Lord who divided his kingdom (1 Kin. 11).

Were Solomon and Samson saved?  What is the proof?

Answer:

No doubt Samson was saved, and the Lord accepted his

repentance.

The Lord listened to him near the end of his life, and through

him He achieved a great victory, which the Lord had not

achieved through him, all his life (Judg. 16:30).  But the

biggest proof of Samson's salvation is that St. Paul put him

in the list of the men of faith along with David, Samuel and

the prophets (Heb. 11:32).

 

I believe that Solomon was saved also and the Lord

accepted his repentance.

A  sign  of  his  repentance  is  his  writing  the  Book  of

Ecclesiastes in which the spirit of asceticism is evident.

Moreover, the main proof on his salvation is the promise of

God to David concerning Solomon saying " I will set up

your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I

will establish his kingdom. "He shall build a house for My

name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

"I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits

iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the

blows of the sons of men. "But My mercy shall not depart

from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from

before you." (2 Sam. 7:12-15).

The phrase "If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him...

but My mercy shall not depart from him " no doubt is a

proof that the Lord accepted Solomon's repentance and

his salvation.

 

 

[ 30] THE  MEANING  OF "BE  ANGRY  AND  DO  NOT  SIN" (Ps. 4; Rom. 12)

Question:

Is the verse "Be angry and do not sin "   (Ps.   4:4) a

permission for us to get angry?  Is that applied also to

the verse "But rather give place to wrath " (Rom. 12:19)?

Answer:

The Bible says "For the wrath of man does not produce the

righteousness of God" (James 1:20), and also "Anger rests

in the bosom of fools" (Eccl. 7:9), and "Make no friendship

with an angry man, And with a furious man do not go"

(Prov. 22:24).

The verse "Be angry, and do not sin" was explained by

the fathers in two ways:

1. The holy anger for the sake of God, as long as it in a

spiritual manner with no trespasses, is holy in its purpose and

its action also.

2.  The anger of the person because of his personal faults and

of the sins he committed, will result in him not sining in the

future.

The saying of the apostle "Do not avenge yourselves, but

rather give place to wrath" means to give a chance for the

anger to depart from you and not give it a place to settle

inside you... do not keep the anger inside you.  It might turn

to hatred and desire for revenge.  Give it a chance to depart

from you.

 

[ 31 ] DID  ONE  OR  BOTH  THIEVES BLASPHEME? (Matt  27:44)

Question:

Who blasphemed the Lord during His crucifixion, the

thief on the left or the thief on the right?  How could it

he that one deserved Paradise?

Answer:

In the beginning both thieves blasphemed the Lord.

St. Matthew the Evangelist said "Even the robbers who were

crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing." (Matt.

27:44)  And  St.  Mark  also  said  "And  those  who  were

crucified with Him reviled Him." (Mark 15:32)

St. Luke is the one who mentioned the faith of the thief

on the Lord's right hand saying "    Then  one  of  the

criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, "If

You are the Christ, save Yourself and us."  But the other,

answering, rebuked him, saying, "Do you not even fear God,

seeing you are under the same condemnation?  "And we

indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds;

but  this  Man  has  done  nothing  wrong."                   Then  he

 

 

said to Jesus, "Lord, remember me when You come into

Your kingdom" (Luke 23:39-42).

Probably it was the miracles that happened during the

time of crucifixion that changed the heart of the thief on

the right.

When he saw the earth quake, the rocks split, and the

heavens darken, his heart was touched as he was touched by

Christ's forgiveness of those who crucified him and His

prayers  on  their  behalf.                                  So  he  stopped  reviling  and

blaspheming.  He believed and defended the Lord Christ,

admonishing the other thief.  He declared his faith to the

Lord asking to be remembered, and received the promise of

Paradise.

 

 

[ 32] DID  THE  BAPTIST  DOUBT? (Luke 7:19)

Question:

When St. John the Baptist sent two of his disciples to the

Lord, he asked "Are You the coming One, or do we look

for another?"    (Luke 7:19)  Was that doubt in Jesus

person?

Answer:

John did not doubt the Lord for many reasons:

1. It was impossible for John to doubt Christ as he was

the messenger before His face to prepare the way before

Him (Mark 1:2) "This man came for a witness, to bear

witness of the Light, that all through him might believe".

(John 1:7).

He could not witness of the Lord unless he knew Him, and

John did witness with strength " This was He of whom I said,

'He who comes after me is preferred before me, for He was

before me.'" (John 1:15).

2.  John clearly recognised Him and his testimony of Him

during baptism was obvious.

When he saw the Lord Christ coming toward him he said: "

Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the

world!  "This is He of whom I said, 'After me comes a Man

 

 

who is preferred before me, for He was before me." (John

1:29 & 30).

3. John explained how God guided him to recognise Him

saying: "I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptise

with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit

descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptises

with the Holy Spirit.  ' "And I have seen and testified that

this is the Son of God." (John 1:33-34).

4. It was because John knew Him and believed in Him

that he hesitated to baptise Him.

Therefore when the Lord came to be baptised John tried to

prevent him, saying, "I need to be baptised by You, and are

You coming to me?"(Matt. 3:14) but he yield when he heard

the  Lord's  words  "It  is  fitting  for  us  to  fulfil  all

righteousness".

5. John's faith grew when he saw the Divine revelation at

the time of the baptism.

"Then Jesus, When He had been baptised, Jesus came up

immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were

opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending

like a dove and alighting upon Him.  And suddenly a voice

came from heaven, saying, "This is My beloved Son, in

whom I am well pleased." (Matt. 3:16-17).

6.  John  bore  another  witness  when  Jesus  began  to

baptise and preach.

 

John's disciples came and told him, so he said "He who has

the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom,

who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the

bridegroom's voice.  Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.

"He must increase, but I must decrease.  "He who comes

from above is above all; he who is of the earth is earthly

and speaks of the earth. He who comes from heaven is

above all." (John 3:29-31).

7. Furthermore, from the second day of the baptism he

witnessed also and sent his disciples to Him.

The Bible says after the account of the baptism “Again, the next

day, John stood with two of his disciples.  And looking at Jesus

as He walked, he said, "Behold the Lamb of God!"  The two

disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus ." (John

1:35-37).

8. Why then did John send two of his disciples to Christ

saying  "Are  You  the  coming  One,  or  do  we  look  for

another?"

St. John sent these two disciples to Jesus, while he was in jail

(Matt. 11:2).  When he heard about the miraculous works of

Christ, he realised that his ministry was over and he was about

to die.  He wanted before his death to hand down his disciples

to the Lord Christ.  So he sent them with this massage to hear,

see and then join the Lord... and so it was.

That is why the Lord said to these two disciples " Go and

tell John the things which you hear and see:  "The blind see

and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear;

the  dead  are  raised  up  and  the  poor  have  the  gospel

 

preached to them.  "And blessed is he who is not offended

because of Me" (Matt. 11:4-6).

This message was more for the two disciples than for St.

John.

About John, the Lord told the people on the same occasion:

"But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you,

and more than a prophet.  "For this is he of whom it is written:

'Behold, I send My messenger before Your face, Who will

prepare Your way before You.'  "Assuredly, I say to you,

among those born of women there has not risen one greater

than John the Baptist; but he who is least in the kingdom of

heaven is greater than he." (Matt. 11:9-11).

9. It is illogical that the Lord would say this testimony

about a man that doubted Him.

Another point about St. John's faith in Christ is:

10. St. John was introduced to Christ while he was in his

mother's womb.

The Bible recorded that St. Elizabeth while she was pregnant

with John, said to St. Mary when she visited her  "For indeed,

as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the

babe leaped in my womb for joy. " (Luke 1:44)  John the babe

leaped to the Babe inside the Virgin St. Mary.  How could that

be?  The angel of the Lord answered that saying  "For he will

be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine

nor strong drink. He will also be filled with the Holy Spirit,

even from his mother's womb. " (Luke 1:15) .

 

 

[ 33 ] A  SWORD (Matt. 10:34)

Question:

How did Christ that loves peace and is the prince of

peace say " Do not think that I came to bring peace on

earth.  I did not come to bring peace but a sword. "For I

have come to set a man against his father " (Matt. 10:34-35)?

Answer:

He meant the sword that befell the believers (Christians)

because of their faith.

In fact the start of Christianity incited the sword of the

Roman empire, the Jews and the pagan philosophers against

the believers.  The saying of the Lord  "They will put you out

of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that whoever kills

you will think that he offers God service." (John 16:2) was

fulfilled.  The martyrdom era which lasted till the reign of

Constantine is a proof for that.

There was also the division that happened between the

members  of  the  family  because  of  the  faith  of  some

members   while   the   others   remained   unbelievers.

 

 

For example, a son would believe in Christianity, so his

father opposed him; or a daughter believed then her mother

antagonised her.  This way the division finds its way to the

family  between  those  who  accepted  the  faith  and  those

family members who opposed it, as the Bible said "Father

will be divided against son and son against father, mother

against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-

law   against   her   daughter-in-law   and   daughter-in-law

against her mother-in-law." (Luke 12:53).

Often the believer was faced with a tense pressure, even fight

from his household members to forsake his faith.  Therefore,

the Lord continued his warning  "and 'a man's enemies will

be those of his own household.'  "He who loves father or

mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves

son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. "

(Matt.10:36-37).

He spoke about the sword against the faith not the sword

in the public relations.

Therefore, His saying "I did not come to bring peace but a

sword" was directly followed by His saying  "But whoever

denies Me before men, him I will also deny before My

Father who is in heaven." (Matt. 10:33)

The sword can be an element in establishing and applying

the. spiritual Christian ethics.

A division can occur between a religious girl and her mother

about  the  subject  of  decency  in  clothing  and  make

 

up.  The same division can occur between a son and his

father about the subject of serving the church or devoting

one's life to serving the Lord or about health and fasting, or

many other sides of Christian behaviour and in all that, "A

man's foes will be those of his own household..." Of the

normal relation between people, the Lord said in the sermon

on the mount:

"Blessed are the peacemakers, For they shall be called

sons of God." (Matt. 5:9).

The Lord Christ was called "Prince of Peace"                      (Is.   9:6).

When the angels announced His birth they said "Peace on

earth" (Luke 2:14).  He said to His disciples "Peace I leave

with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I

give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be

afraid." (John 14:27).  The Bible says " Now the fruit of

righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace."

(James 3:18), and "The fruit of the Spirit is love, Joy, peace.

(Gal. 5:22).

 

 

[ 34 ] WAS  THE  PLUCKING  OF  THE  CORN TO EAT,  STEALING? (Mark 2:23)

Question:

When  the  disciples  of  the  Lord  Christ  were  going

through the grain fields; they became hungry; so they

began to pluck the corn to eat (Mark 2:23).  Was this

considered stealing because they plucked ears of corn

belonging  to  someone  else  without  his  permission  or

knowledge?

Answer:

This was not a theft because the Law allowed it.  In this

respect the Book of Deuteronomy says " When you come

into your neighbour’s vineyard, you may eat your fill of

grapes at your pleasure, but you shall not put any in your

container.  "When you come into your neighbour’s standing

grain, you may pluck the heads with your hand, but you

shall not use a sickle on your neighbour’s standing grain."

(Deut. 23:24-25).

For this reason the disciples' act was allowable according to

the Jewish law and common customs.  Anyone passing

by could pluck corn to eat if he was hungry but not take it

with him.  That is exactly what the disciples did when they

were hungry, they plucked corn and ate (Matt. 12:1).

In  fact,  the  Pharisees  did  not  criticise  the  disciples  for

plucking corn, but instead blamed them because they did that

act on a Sabbath (Matt. 12:2), accusing them of breaking the

Sabbath and not of stealing.

Therefore we should judge each act according to the

applicable rules of the time.

 

[ 35 ] FOR  IN  MUCH  WISDOM  IS MUCH  GRIEF (Eccl. 1:18)

Question:

Does the Bible discourage the growing in knowledge and

learning by saying "for in much wisdom is much grief?"

(Eccl. 1:18).

Answer:

The Bible meant the harmful knowledge that troubles

man's mind.

There is information you gain, that might bring on you

spiritual fights and lusts, which later on you regret having

known it.

There are readings and knowledge that might bring doubts

and affect one's faith.  Other information, may affect one's

good feelings toward others, or may lead one to judge them,

and in all that, one might regret having known it.

Therefore, a person should have control of what to know

and what to read.

 

Not every thing should be known to every one.  Some things

may open one's eyes on things not in his favour to know at a

certain age or  in  certain psychological  status, or before

spiritual or mental maturity.

Of this and other similar cases the sage said  "for in much

wisdom is much grief".

As for the rest of the good and useful knowledge the doors

of learning are wide open for all.

 

[ 36 ] ARE  ALL  EQUAL? (Matt. 20:1-14)

Question:

In the parable of the land owner who hired labourers for

his vineyard (Matt. 20:1-40), he gave one denari to each

labourer, the one who started from the beginning of the

day like those who started at the eleventh hour.  Will we

all be equal in wages in the kingdom?

Answer:

Absolutely not, because it was said that "every one will

be rewarded according to his deeds" (Matt. 16:27).

The same statement was also mentioned in (Ps. 62:12 &

Rom 2:5-7) and also the Lord Christ said "I am coming

quickly,. and My reward is with Me, to give to every one

according to his work" (Rev. 22:12)

Since  the  deeds  of  people  differ,  so  rewarding  them

should differ, "whether it is good or whether it is evil"

(Eccl. 12:14), "Which were written in the books according

to their works". (Rev. 20:12)

 

The righteous will differ in the reward and the sinners will

differ in the punishment, for it was said about the righteous

that "for one star differs from another star in glory" (1Cor.

15:41), and as for the sinners, the Lord said about the city

that refused the word of God "Assuredly I say to you it will

be more tolerable certain land of Sodom and Gomorrah on

the day of judgment than for that city" (Matt. 10: 15).  Then

there  is  a  state  much  more  tolerable  than  other  in

punishment, as the Lord said to Pilate "therefore the one

who delivered Me to you has the greater sin" (John 19:11)

The  difference  in  reward  and  punishment  befits  the

Divine justice.

So what did it mean that all received a denarius, equally in

this parable?... It meant that all were equal in entering the

kingdom but not in the same rank.

Everyone enters the kingdom, even those who repent in the

last moment of their life, but inside the kingdom, every one

will be according to his deeds, the one who gave 100 fold,

the one who gave 60 fold and the one who gave 30 fold,

every one according to his works.

 

 

[ 37 ] IS  IT  OUR  DAILY  BREAD,  OR OUR BREAD  FOR  TOMORROW? (Matt. 6:11)

Question:

The translations of the Lord's prayer differ, some say

"our daily bread" and others say "our bread for tomorrow" which one is more appropriate?.

Answer:

The  Greek  word  "Epi-osios"  has  more  than  one

meaning, even the early fathers of the church differed in

translating this word.

+  St.  Jerome's  Vulgate  translated  it  to  "substantial

bread" or "over super substantial bread" which means in

Latin "panem nostrum super substantial" and so did Origen.

+ While St. Augustin and St. Gregory, bishop of Nyssa,

translated it to "our daily bread" which in Latin "panem

nostrum quotidianum".

 

 

+ St. John Chrysostom also used the same phrase "our

daily bread" in his commentary on the Gospel of St. Matthew

(Article 19 - Section 8).

+ The Coptic translation, which is considered one of the

most known and trusted translations used the phrase "our

bread for tomorrow".

+ The English translation, (king James Version, and the

New Revised Standard Version) says "our daily bread" and

in the margin it says "our bread for tomorrow".

I do not intend to put you in a linguistic rebuttal, as I do

not want to bring up what the other fathers said in explaining

the Lord's prayer for that will not benefit you in any way.

Furthermore, I do not want to make your prayer time a

time for linguistic debates, so during prayers someone may

attempt to raise his voice to dominate the voice of others, or

to show that he knows what is better, or to make himself a

leader or an example for the others to follow.  This way the

prayer  itself  will  lose  the  spiritual  goal  which  is  the

conversation with God to be a scientific rebuttal...!  we do

not need that in our spiritual life.

Basically, it is enough to understand one fact during the time

of prayer which is that the bread that we are asking for, is

the spiritual bread necessary to our eternal life.

We say that having in mind the following points:

 

1. The Lord's prayer is composed of 7 requests.  

The first three requests are pertinent to God.

a.   Hallowed be Your Name.

b.   Your kingdom come.

c.   Your will be done.

The other four requests concern us, they start with "our

bread"... and it is illogical for us to start our requests by

asking for material food before we ask for the forgiveness

of  our  sins  and  before  asking  to  he  rescued  from

temptations and all evil.

2. This also contradicts what the Lord said: .."therefore I say

to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or

what you will drink..."therefore, do not worry saying what

shall we eat? or what shall we drink?... for after all these

things the Gentiles ask... but seek first the kingdom of God

and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added

to you.  " (Matt. 6:25,31-33). " Do not labor for the food

which  perishes,  but  for  the  food  which  endures  to

everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because

God the Father has set His seal on Him " (John 6:27).

3. Nevertheless, if we need the bread we should ask for it but

then we should ask for our daily bread, not worrying about

tomorrow.  That what St. Gregory of Nyssa and St. John

Chrysostom have said, we here ask for the bread not the

pleasures of foods.

 

4. If we say "our bread for tomorrow" what do we

mean?

The bread necessary for our souls, our eternity and for our

future life, tomorrow... and here we should put in our

hearts  to  ask  for  all  the  foods  of  the  spirit  as  prayer,

contemplation,  love  of  God,  contiguity  to  God  and  as

partaking of the Holy Communion.

Notice  here  that  the  Coptic  translation  was  spiritual  in

understanding this request.

5. If some say "our daily or sufficient bread," that means

the material bread if it is lacking... or, alternatively, the

spiritual bread that is needed for their satisfaction, lest they

should fall into sin or luke warmness, nor more than they

need lest they fall into vain glory or conceit.

 

 

[ 38 ] THEY  WILL  NOT  TASTE  DEATH. (Mark 9:1)

Question:

The Lord said "Assuredly I say to you that there are some

standing here who will not taste death till they see the

kingdom of God present with power" (Mark 9:11).

How could that be, and which kingdom did He mean?

Answer:

First we should understand the meaning of the word

kingdom.

Apparently the person who asked the question had in mind

the "Eternal Kingdom", so he was puzzled about how some

of the living at that time would live until they see the

kingdom!!.

Of   course,   here   He   did   not   mean   the   "Eternal

Kingdom".

We should know that before the redemption, Satan was the

prince of this world (John 14:30), and sin reigned, and by sin

we die (Rom. 5:14&17) but by redemption God started

to reign "the Lord reigned over a piece of wood", bound

Satan, saved the people from death and started His kingdom.

Then here it means the kingdom of God that spread by

faith through the redemption of Christ  "and the Lord

added to the church daily those who were being saved" (Acts

2:47), so those joined the kingdom of God, the congregation

of the believers.

The kingdom of God came with power, the power that came

upon the disciples from above when they received the Holy

Spirit.  Few years, before St. Paul was martyred (year 67

AD); the kingdom of God had spread all over the known

places of the world, and the people living then saw the

kingdom of God coming with power.

 

[ 39 ] SIGNS  OF  THE  END  OF  THE  WORLD (Matt. 24; 2 Thess.)

Question:

What are the signs by which we will recognise that the

end  of  the  world  is  near?    Many  speak  about,  and

predict  the  time  for  the  end  of  the  world  and  even

suggest dates for it.

Answer:

We shall mention here the signs that were recorded in the

Bible:

The coming of the Anti-Christ

This subject is very clearly indicated in the words of St. Paul

" Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will

not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of

sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts

himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so

that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself

that he is God. … whom the Lord will consume with the

breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His

coming. The coming of the lawless one is according to the

working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders,

and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish,

because    they   did   not   receive   the

love of the truth, that they might be saved." (2 Thess. 2:3-10).

There  will  be  enormous  falling  away  because  of  the

wonders that will be manifested by the false prophet

with  the  power  of  Satan  and  many  will  believe  and

apostatise from the true faith.

This falling was mentioned in the previous point (2 Thess. 2:3)

and also in (1 Tim 4:1) "Now the spirit expressly says that in

latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to

deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.  " This failing

away will be a severe and general one to the point that the

Lord said about it "And unless those days were shortened,

no flesh would be saved,. but for the elect's sake those days

will be shortened.  " (Matt. 24:22).

Although during history many things had happened, this

general falling which is due to the miracles of that false

prophet, did not happen yet.  The Lord also said:

"For false christs and false prophets will arise and show

great signs and wonders, so as to deceive, if possible, even

the elect. " (Matt. 24:24).

All these will be reasons for the fall.  The Lord also said

about these difficult days "Satan will be released from his

prison, and will go out to deceive the nations.  "                 (Rev.

20:7&8)

Another sign is the salvation of the Jews ie. their belief in

the Lord Christ.

 

When St. Paul talked about the belief of the Jews first then

the joining of the Gentiles to the faith, ie. "the grafting of

the wild olive tree into the original olive tree, " he said

"How much more will these, who are the natural branches,

be grafted into their own olive tree?"                             (Rom. 11:16-24).

Then  he  said  explicitly  "...  that  hardening  in  part  has

happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has

come in, and so all Israel will be saved" (Rom. 11:25&26)

he means the spiritual salvation by their joining the faith.

Final signs which are the desolation of nature...

The Lord said "Immediately after the tribulation of those

days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its

light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the

heavens will be shaken.  " (Matt. 24).

The  Last  sign  is  the  appearance  of  Christ's  sign  in

heaven...

After the desolation of nature, the Lord said "then the sign

of the Son of Man will appear in heaven                            and they will

see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with

power and great glory, and He will send His angels with a

great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His

elect... " (Matt. 24) and that will be the end.

A comment on these signs:  It is clear that the Anti-christ

did not appear yet with his miracles, and accordingly the

general falling did not happen.  As the Jews did not believe

yet, and the false prophets making signs and wonders did not

appear either, but as of the wars and rumours of wars, these

are the beginning of sorrows. (Matt. 24:8).

 

[ 40 ] THE  ACCOUNT  OF THE  DEATH  OF MOSES  THE  PROPHET (Deut. 34:5)

Question:

If Moses the prophet was the writer of the first five

Books of he Bible, how could they include the account of

his death? (Deut. 34:5-8).

Answer:

This account was of course written by Joshua the son of

Nun, and did not come at the beginning of the Book of

Joshua but came at the end of the five Books to complete

the story of Moses.

This coincides with the beginning of the Book of Joshua

"After the death of Moses the servant of the Lord, it came to

pass.."

 

 

 

PART TWO Theological & Dogmatic Questions

When I thought of printing the collection, "So Many Years

With The Problems Of People", I found before me thousands of

questions I had answered throughout more than twenty years.  I

classified them into sections according to topics.

Part I of the collection includes questions on the Holy Bible.

It contained forty questions often addressed by many.  Some

were answered briefly and the others with some elucidation, but

in both cases with much concentration.

The first part was out of print and was reprinted before

printing this second part.

This Second Part includes theological and dogmatic questions

that occupy the minds of the people.  We tried to tackle them in

an easy way as far as possible so that everyone may understand

them.  However, we still have enough theological and biblical

questions for many books.

We hope that this collection will be beneficial and convey the

message, especially among the youth, in the service and to the

students of the religious institutes as well as to whoever wants

to know the answers to these questions.

Pope Shenouda III

 

(1) DOES MAN HAVE A FREE WILL OR NOT?

Question:

Does man have a free will or not?  And if he does, is it

for everything?

Answer:

There are certain matters which man has no choice.

A person has no choice regarding the country in which he

was born, the people amidst whom he grew up, the parents

who brought him into existence, the environment in which

he was brought up and its impact on him, nor the way he

was brought up.

 

His shape or colour, his height, intelligence, the talents he

is endowed with or deprived of, what he inherited from his

parents ...  etc.

On the other hand a person no doubt has free will with

respect to his actions and works.

He has the choice either to do something or not, or to

speak or to keep silent.  He can even - if he wants - correct

many  things  which  he  inherited  and  change  what  he

acquired from the environment or while being brought up.

A person can set aside the whole past and begin a new

life completely different, getting rid of all previous

influences.

Many people were able - when they grew up to release

themselves of the influence of the environment, education

and  inheritance  which  they  had  undergone  in  their

childhood.  They could do this by bringing themselves into

the scope of new, different influences through reading,

friendship and company, spiritual guides and new teachers

or through religious life and meetings.  There are actually

some people who were brought up in a dissolute life but

repented; and others who were brought up in spirituality

yet they deviated.

Even with respect to talents ...

A person can develop the talents with which he was born,

or diminish them by neglecting them.  Someone may have

only few talents which he is careful to improve and

protect, so they develop.  Another may acquire new talents

which he had not and become better than one with talents

which are neglected.

Many things prove that man has free will:

1. The existence of God's commandment is a proof that

man has a free will.

If a man is directed and has no control over his will or

freedom, why would there be a commandment?  And what

would be its use if a person is unable to comply with or is

directed against it involuntarily?  We remember here some

words of a part which apply to this:

He was cast into the water with hands tied and he was

warned not to get wet!

Even  if  a  person  is  directed  in  the  way  which  the

commandment requires him to walk, the commandment

will not be necessary since he will walk that same way

whether there is a commandment or not!

 

 

It is logical then that since there is a commandment, man

has free will.  He has the choice either to follow God's

commandment or not.  This is also the actual state of

affairs which we see in life.  A person is able to obey the

commandment if he wants to and can disobey if he wants.

God has endowed him with a free will and a free choice.

God is put in his sight, but he is not forced to go along it.

2. The existence of sin is a proof that man has a free

will.

If man has no free will, would it be reasonable that God

leads  him  to  sin?  Would  not  that  mean  that  God

participates with man in committing sin?  God forbid.  It is

unreasonable and does not conform with God's nature as

Holy and good, hates evil and does not accept it, but calls

all people to repent and forsake sin.

When sin exists, it means that man has done it voluntarily

by his own will while he had the choice to commit it or

not.

If man has the free will to do evil, he is rather more free to

do good and free to repent and forsake sin.  God calls all

people to repent, but leaves the matter to their choice

either to repent or not.

 

3. The existence of a condemnation is a proof that man

has free will.

Mere existence of punishment and reward is a proof that

man is free to do whatever he wants; for the simplest rule

of justice necessitates that no man may be condemned

unless he is apt, free and willing.  If a person is proved to

have no choice or will, he will not be condemned nor

justified; for no responsibility is there in the case of lack

of free will.

Accordingly, God cannot condemn a sinner with eternal

torment unless such a person has full choice and chose for

himself bad conduct and walked in it, so he reaps the fruit

of his choice and work and as far as a person has control

over his will his punishment will be.

God never punishes a person who has no free will for he

has no control over his will, but punishes him who led that

person to sin.  The same principle applies to reward; God

rewards the person who does good voluntarily, by his own

will and choice.  If such a person has no free will, he will

not deserve to be rewarded.

4. Finally, there are four remarks:

First: God urges everyone to do good and guides him to

avoid wrongdoing whether through one's own conscience,

through guides, fathers and teachers and through the work

of grace.

 

Yet God leaves to everyone the choice to accept or refuse.

Second: Sometimes, God interferes to stop certain evils

and prevents some doing them.  In this case, the person

who was prevented from doing evil has no hand in this

and will not be rewarded.  Here God - for the sake of

general benefit undertakes the matter or turns evil to good.

As for the other affairs of a person and his conduct, he has

the choice and the will.

Third: A person may lose his will by his own choice,

such as when he submits to a certain sin by his own will

until the sin becomes a habit or another nature to him

which he follows afterwards as if he has become without

any will.

It is in fact lack of will caused by a previous action

taken by a person with his free will and choice.

Fourth:  God  will  condemn  everyone  on  the  last  day

according to the reason and discretion endowed him by

God and according to his capabilities, his will and choice.

God takes into consideration man's circumstances and the

pressures he faces as well as his ability or non ability to

overcome such pressures.

 

(2) WHY DID GOD CREATE MAN?

Question:

Why did God create man?

Did he create man to worship and glorify Him?

Answer:

God did not create man to worship and glorify Him; for

God does not need any glorification or worship from man.

Before creating man, God was glorified and worshipped

by the angels and even then He was not in need of being

glorified by the angels. He is glorified by His own

attributes.

God lacks nothing to acquire from His creation whether

man or angel.

How true this is expressed in the Mass written by St.

Gregory, in which man prays to God, saying,

"you were not in need of my servitude, but it is I who am

in need of Your Lordship."

Why then did God create man?

God created man out of His goodness and munificence,

in order to make man enjoy existence.

Before creation, God was alone.  Since eternity He was

the  only  being  in  existence  and  had  satisfaction  in

Himself.  It was possible that man does not exist nor any

other  creature,  but  God  out  of  His  munificence  and

goodness granted existence to this nothingness which He

called man.  He created man to enjoy existence.

Creating man was then for the benefit of man himself

not for the benefit of God.  He created man to enjoy life

and if he behaves well he will also enjoy eternity.

The same can be said regarding angels.  God was so

bountiful that He made us part of existence which He

would have been alone in it.  It is impossible that God

created man because He desired to be glorified by that

man or any other creation.

When we glorify God, it is we, not God, who benefit.

 

We benefit because when we mention God's name and

give glory to Him, we raise our hearts to a spiritual level

which gives our hearts elevation, purity and closeness to

the Godhead.  We need always to contemplate on God and

glorify Him; for by this our spirits feel connected to this

great God who has all such glory and this gives us

comfort.

Therefore we say, "It is I who am in need of Your

Lordship."

On the other hand, God - theologically speaking - does

not increase or decrease in greatness.  Nothing is added

to Him when we glorify Him and He lacks nothing

when we do not.

I can say that God created us out of His love for us as His

pleasure is in the human beings.

God loved us before we existed and that is why He brought

us into existence.

But what do the words "loved us before we existed" mean?

This reminds me of what I wrote in my notebook in 1957 as far

as I remember, I wrote: "I have a relation, 0 Lord with you

which began since eternity and will continue for ever.  Yes, I

dare say it began since eternity!  I mean since eternity when I

was in Your mind a thought and in Your heart a pleasure."

 

 

(3) IS CONSCIENCE GODS VOICE?

Question:

Is conscience God's voice?

Answer:

No, conscience is not God's voice, because conscience

often errs whereas God's voice never does.

The best evidence of this is found in the words of the Lord

Christ to His disciples, for He said to them, "They will put

you out of the synagogues; yes, the time is coming that

whoever kills you will think that he offers God service."

(John 16:2).  Of course such conscience which considers

killing the disciples is a worship offered to God can never

be God's voice.  This is just an example of many other

cases.

Conscience might be strict and suspicious, thinks a thing

sinful while it is not, or has an exaggerated look to sin.

Conscience might also be lenient, accepts many wrong

things and justifies them.  Neither of these two kinds of

conscience     -  that  which  strains  out  a  gnat  or  which

swallows a camel - (Matt 23:24) can be God's voice.

When a person murders someone to avenge for killing his

brother or father and his conscience becomes troubled

until  he  avenges  for  the  blood  of  his  relative,  this

conscience cannot be God's voice.  Likewise a person who

kills his sister for committing adultery to cleanse the name

of the family cannot claim that he was called by God's

voice to kill her.

Some people mix up between conscience and the Holy

Spirit.

God's voice within a person is the voice of God's Spirit

working within him and thus it cannot err.  On the other

hand, conscience can be mistaken; for sometimes a person

gets  enthusiastic  to  do  something  and  his  conscience

irritates him for not doing it while God's Spirit is in fact

not pleased by such action.

Conscience may develop when instructed and guided.

 

It can discern today that the thing it deemed allowable

yesterday due to ignorance or misunderstanding is in fact

forbidden.  Can it (conscience) be God's voice while it

judges matters differently from one day to another?  The

changing of conscience is an evidence that it is not God's

voice.

A person may, in the name of mercy and compassion, help

a student to cheat in the exam when he sees him crying for

fear of failure, or a physician, in the name of mercy and

compassion, may write a certificate that someone is sick

while in fact such a person is not sick.  Afterwards, he is

instructed that what he has done was wrong and refuses to

do it again in future.

How then can such conscience be God's voice in man

while it calls for something and on another occasion calls

for something else?

Another  example  is  a  person  who  is  urged  by  his

conscience to obey some spiritual father or guide even in

doing something wrong, but afterwards he understands

that such obedience should be within obedience to God.

His conscience rebukes him for his previous obedience by

which he broke God's commandment.

Conscience is a voice put by God in man to call him to

do good and reprimand him for wickedness, but is not

God's voice.

 

God put also in man a mind to invite him to good.

He gave man a spirit which covets against the body.

However, the mind often does wrong and the spirit also

often errs.

Both are from God, but not God's mind nor God's voice.

God's voice in man is the Spirit of God working within

man.

 

(4) MADNESS AND ACCOUNTABILITY FOR SINS

Question:

To what extent can a mad person be held accountable

for his sins?  Or is he accountable at all?

Answer:

It is well known that according to one's aptness and

discerning one is held accountable by God.

Madness is of various degrees and types.  There may be a

person who is mad with regard to a certain subject and in

other cases he behaves as if he is completely sane so that

those who do not know him will never imagine that he is

mad.  There is also a kind of madness which is not

continuous, of which a person can be cured but returns

again.  Another kind is sheer madness or absolute madness

in which the mind is totally insane.

 

A  person  who  is  absolutely  mad  cannot  be  held

accountable for anything at all.

He is not charged for any sin he commits while being mad

because he is not aware.

He is only charged for the sins he committed before

getting mad, after which time he is considered dead and is

not held accountable.

With regard to other kinds of madness he is charged as

far as he is discerning and as far as he is able to control

his behaviour.

Seeing that the Lord has said about those who crucified

Him, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what

they do " (Luke 23:34), how much rather the mad should

be forgiven; for mentally "they do not know what they are

doing".

 

(5) DOES THE BODY (THE FLESH) SIN ALONE?

Question:

Is the body the element of sin in a person?  Is it the

cause of all sins?  Is it accountable for sins so as it

might be called the body of sin?  Does it sin alone and

the spirit has no hand in the matter because what the

spirit desires is opposed to the flesh (Gal 5:17)?

If so, why did God create the flesh?

Answer:

If the flesh had been evil in itself, God would have not

created it.

We observe that after creating man, flesh and spirit, "God

saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very

good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day."

(Gen 1:31).  So, God did not create the flesh as an element

of sin.  Adam and Eve lived in the body in Paradise

 

without sinning; they lived in simplicity, chastity and

innocence before sin entered into the  world.

We cannot say that the body began with sin!

It is true that the fruit was forbidden and they ate from it,

but before eating there was the lust for divinity, the lust

for knowledge and doubting God's words (which are all

sins of the spirit).  The enticement of the serpent was

clear, "You will not die."  Thus began doubting God's

words.  There was also the enticement of divinity, "you

will be like God, knowing good and evil " (Gen 3:5).

Would it be that the spirit coveted after divinity and

knowledge and it let the body fall with it and eat from the

fruit?  Perhaps, or at least we can say:

The first man's fall was a fall of the flesh and spirit

together.

Both joined together in one action, i.e.  breaking God's

commandment.

However, most people speak only about the sin of the

body which took the fruit and ate it, forgetting the inner

factors that led to this which are sins of the spirit.  The

spirit can sin the same as the body and we should not say

that the body sins alone.

Moreover, the first sin known in the world is a sin of

the spirit.

 

We mean the sin of the devil; for he is a spirit without

flesh being an angel and the angels are spirits (Ps 104:4).

The devil fell in the sin of pride when he said, "'I will

ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars

of GOD... I will be like the Most High..’" (Is 14:13,14).

The first sin is pride and it is a sin of the spirit.

In the case of the devil, it was followed by obstinacy,

resistance and stumbling others.

He made other angels fall, then he made man stumble.

These were all sins of the spirit without the body.

The devil fell also in the sin of envy as we say in the Holy

Divine Mass, "The death which entered into the world by

the envy of the devil, You have abolished".

The devil - though a spirit - fell also in the sin of lying as

he lied to Eve and the Lord said about him, "He is a liar

and the father of it." (John 8:44).

The spirit then can sin alone without the body.

Not all the sins of the spirit lie in its submission to the

flesh.  Nay, there are sins in which the spirit falls alone.

The body might fall with the spirit, taking part in these

sins.  But with respect to the devil, all the aforementioned

sins were sins of the spirit alone.

 

We should not say that the flesh is the cause of all sins.

There are many sins in which the spirit falls and we even

say that the flesh alone without the spirit cannot sin.  Like

a dead body which takes life from the spirit, the spirit

takes part in the sins of the body by submitting to it.  Take

for example the sin of killing.  Do you think that the flesh

alone attacks, beats and kills, or rather the sins of the spirit

such as hatred and violence urge it to do so?  Cain fell

with the spirit before murdering his brother with his hand.

Being aware of the sins of the spirit and the soul, we pray

in the Holy Mass, saying, "Purify our souls, our bodies

and our spirits".

And we say that we partake of the Holy Communion "A

purification for our souls, our bodies and our spirits".

And because the spirit like the body may be defiled and become

unclean we say in the third hour prayer:

"Purify us from the defilement of the flesh and the spirit".

Since the spirit sins with the body, it will therefore be punished

with the body in eternity so as the body is not punished alone.

If the spirit were strong, it would not fall in its own sins nor

submit to the body in its sins.  The most awful description given

in the Holy Bible to the spirits of the fallen angels is the

 

term "unclean spirits" or "evil spirits" as in (Matt 10:1).  How

much rather this description can be given to the spirits of the

evil human beings.

The problem with the body is that it is made of material

and so it is fought by being attracted to it.

It is fought with material and fleshly things and has more

occasions which make it fall; for many are the fields in which it

is fought.  However, it is not necessarily subject to the material;

it can be elevated over it.

For all these and the alike we honour the relics of the saints.

Their bodies struggled for God's sake, suffered for Him, lived in

chastity, conquered the enemy and took part in every worship.

They are honoured not only by us, but also by God Himself who

allowed that a dead man comes to life on touching the bones of

Elisha the Prophet (2 Kin 13:21).

The Lord so honoured the body that He made it a temple of

the Holy Spirit.

The apostle therefore said, "Or do you not know that your body

is a temple of the Holy Spirit." (1 Cor 6:19).

Can we say then that this temple of the Holy Spirit is the body

of sin?  God forbid.  The apostle says further, "Do you not know

that your bodies are members of Christ." (1 Cor 6:15).

 

The bodies then are holy and the words of the apostle are

well said,

"..your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit ...  which you

have from God ...  therefore glorify God in your body."

(1 Cor 6:20).

We can thus glorify God with our bodies as well as with

our spirits, "always carrying about in the body the dying

of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be

manifested in our body." (2 Cor 4:10).

Our bodies which we took from the Lord in baptism is not

the body of sin; for the apostle says, "For as many of you

as were baptised into Christ have put on Christ." (Gal

3:27).

God will honour the body when He will raise it in glory.

The body will rise imperishable, a spiritual shining body

with a glorified nature like the body of His glory.

The greatest honour for the human body is that Christ

took on Himself a human body.

If the body had been evil in itself or an element for sin,

Christ would not have taken for Himself a body of our

same nature blessing our nature in it.

 

The body may sin and may also live in purity.

The same applies to the spirit.  We cannot forget also that

when  the  body                                               -  though  being  material   -  overcomes

material attraction and behaves in a spiritual way.  God

will not forget this loving fatigue and will consider it a

great thing.

Let us then glorify God in our bodies and in our spirits

which are from God.

 

 

(6) DO HUMAN BEINGS GET MARRIED TO DEVILS AND PROCREATE?

Question:

Some people tell stories about human beings married to

devils giving birth to children.  To what extent is this

correct?  And how did they come to know of it?

Answer:

We do not believe this at all.  It is not supported by any

creed or historical evidence.

We do not know of any person descending from the

devils. It is something unreasonable and can be refuted on

basis of faith.  Among the refutations we mention the

following:

The devils are spirits having no bodies to procreate like

human beings.

Devils are spirits because they are angels and they are

called spirits in the Holy Bible (Luke 10:17,20).

 

They are even called "unclean spirits" (Matt 10:1) and

"evil spirits" (Luke   7:21; Ac 19:12).  How then can spirits

procreate?  And how, without having bodies, can they

produce an offspring having bodies?

Of  course  sexual  relations  and  marriage  have  no

existence among these spirits.

The devils, though they lost their holiness, still have the

angelical  nature.   That  is  why  it  is  written  in  the

Revelation  that  a  war  broke  out  in  heaven  between

Michael and his angels and the dragon and his angels.

They fought, "So the great dragon was cast out, that

serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives

the whole world, he was cast to the earth and his angels

were cast out with him." (Rev 12:7-9).

And whereas they are angels, see what the Lord Christ

said   about   the   angels   when   speaking   about   the

Resurrection.  He said, "For in the resurrection they

neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like

angels of God in heaven." (Matt 22:30).

Angels do not marry and this applies to the devils as they

are angels.  The devils may arouse sexual feelings in

human beings but they themselves do not have such sexual

nature.  The devil may appear in the form of a man or a

woman, however:

There are no males nor females among the devils.  They

do not have bodies of men or women, nor do they have

ovum or sperms.  They cannot give a human offspring nor

even a devil offspring.  The devils are great in number

because of the great number of the fallen angels not

because of procreation among themselves.  If they do not

procreate among themselves, how can they procreate from

human beings!

Moreover,  procreation  needs  conformity  of  kind  or

species.

For example, no procreation can take place between a fish

and a bird, a bird and an animal, nor between an animal

and a fish nor between a human being and a bird.  There

must be conformity in sex and kind.  Accordingly, no

procreation can take place between a human being and a

devil.  Besides, a devil has no body.

History has not presented to us even one example of

such procreation.

We have not heard of any person born of parents; one of

them a human being and the other a devil, so that such a

person might give us an answer to the confusing question:

Which of the two natures prevails in such a relation, so

that the offspring might be either a human being or a devil,

 

or even a human-devil!  Would such a being be visible or

not!

Perhaps such questions are due to the stories of demons

told to children and regretfully fill the children's libraries.

Add to this the stories spreading among the common

people and villagers who circulate these stories forming of

them an important part of their folklore.

 

(7) DOES THE HOLY SPIRIT WORK IN THE UNBELIEVERS?

Question:

In the story of the baptism of Cornelius while Peter was

speaking, "The Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard

the word."  This made the believers astonished, "Because

the gift of the Holy Spirit has been poured out on the Gentiles

also" (Acts 10:44,45).

Does  this  mean  that  the  Holy  Spirit  works  in  the

unbelievers?

Answer:

The Holy Spirit works in the unbelievers to make them

believe.

Or how can they believe without the work of the Holy Spirit in

them?  Does not the Holy Bible say, "No one can say that Jesus

is Lord except by the Holy Spirit" (1 Cor 12:3).

The work of the Holy Spirit to make people believe differs

from His permanent dwelling in a believer.

The Holy Spirit may work in the heart of an unbeliever to call

him to believe, or work a miracle or some wonder to him which

might lead him to believe, but after believing, a person must

obtain the Holy Spirit through the Holy anointment in the

sacrament of the Holy Myron (Chrism) so that the Spirit may

always work in him.

The Spirit may also work in the unbelievers for the benefit

of the church.

As the Scriptures say, "The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus,

King of Persia.       (Ezra 1:1).  This was for the purpose of

building the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.  There are many

similar events both in Scriptures and in history.

 

 

(8) WHEN DID THE DISCIPLES RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT?

Question:

When did the disciples receive the Holy Spirit?  Was it

when the Spirit came upon them in the form of tongues as

of fire (Acts 2)?  Or when the Lord breathed on them and

said to them, "Receive the Holy Spirit" (John 20)?

Answer:

They received the Holy Spirit for permanent dwelling on

the day of Pentecost.

At that time the Lord's promise was fulfilled that they would be,

"Endued with power from on high." (Luke     24:49) and also the

promise, "If I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you:

but if I depart, I will send Him to you." (John 16:7).  This text

shows that they were to receive the Holy Spirit after the Lord's

ascension to heaven which happened on the day of Pentecost

(Acts 2:2-4).

 

But when the Lord breathed on them it was to give them

the sacrament of the Holy Orders (Priesthood).

It is stated, "He breathed on them and said to them 'Receive the

Holy Spirit.  If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven

them, if you retain the sins of any, they are retained'" (John

20:22, 23).

It means that He gave them, by the Holy Spirit, the authority to

forgive sins, or rather He gave them the Spirit by whom they

can forgive sins, thus forgiveness comes from God.

This breathe that gave the Holy Spirit is confined to them,

not for all believers.

It is given to those who were to perform the work of priesthood

from among the 'apostles' disciples and successors, whereas the

coming of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost was for all

and the apostles gave this gift to people by the laying on of

hands (Acts 8:17), then by the Holy anointment (1 John 2:20,

27) which is now given in the sacrament of Holy Chrism

(Myron) to all believers.

Hence, the apostles received priesthood when the Lord

breathed on them.

Then they took over this priesthood on the day of Pentecost

when they baptised people.

The Lord knew that they were in need of Holy priesthood in

order that they might baptise the new members of the church,

loose and bind, and practise all other sacraments.

 

Therefore, He gave them the Holy Spirit - who was to give

them priesthood - before giving them the Holy Spirit to dwell

permanently in them as necessary for their ministry and lives as

well.

 

(9) IS THERE A GOSPEL OF ST.  PAUL THE APOSTLE?

Question:

St.  Paul the Apostle said, "But I make known to you ,

brethren, that the gospel which was preached by me is not

according to man    but it came through the revelation of

Jesus Christ." (Gal 1:11, 12).

Is there a gospel of St.  Paul?

Answer:

The word "gospel" is a Greek word meaning good news.

St.  Paul the Apostle used it in this sense, not meaning a certain

book.    In  some  instances  he  said,  "The  gospel  of  your

salvation." (Eph 1:3), i.e.  the good news of your salvation.  In

other instances he said, "The gospel of peace." (Eph 6:15)

meaning the good news of peace or preaching peace and "The

gospel of the glory of Christ." (2 Cor 4:4) and "The glorious

 

gospel of the Blessed God." (1 Tim 1:11) by which he means

preaching about this glory.

Of course, there were no gospels carrying these or other

names.

When  St.    Paul  the  Apostle  said,  "The  gospel  for  the

uncircumcised had been committed to me, as the gospel for the

circumcised was to Peter." (Gal 2:7), he meant that he was

entrusted  to  carry  the  gospel  or  the  good  news  to  the

uncircumcised, i.e.  the Gentiles and St.  Peter to carry the

gospel to the circumcised, i.e.  to the Jews.

What is meant by gospel is the good news of salvation and

redemption.  He did not mean of course that there was a gospel

called gospel for the uncircumcised and another called gospel

for the circumcised.

The same is understood from all other words of the Apostle.

By the words, "My chains for the gospel," (Philem 13), he

meant the imprisonment he undergoes for his preaching the

gospel.  And when he said, "The things which happened to me

have actually turned out for the furtherance of the gospel."

(Philem 1:12), he meant the furtherance of the preaching of

salvation.  By the words, "I have begotten you through the

gospel." (1 Cor 4:15), he meant the preaching he preached.

The same goes for all other texts because there were no written

gospels at that time.

 

The Lord Christ Himself used the same expression.

At the beginning of His preaching - when John the Baptist was

in prison - the Lord Christ came "preaching the gospel of the

Kingdom of God and saying, 'The time is fulfilled and the

Kingdom of God is at hand.  Repent and believe in the gospel'"

(Mark 1:14, 15).

Which gospel was it that the Lord Christ meant, though

there were no written gospels at that time and He had not

yet chosen His disciples?

He meant then to say "Believe in this preaching of the Kingdom

which I preach you now."

It is the joyful news that the Kingdom of God is at hand.

Christianity  came  preaching  salvation;  salvation  from  the

punishment of sin and of the dominion of the devil, eternal

salvation through redemption.  This preaching was given the

name "gospel".

The same can be traced in the Lord Christ's words where He

used the term "gospel" often.

An example of this is found in the words of the Lord to His

disciples, "go into all the world and preach the gospel to every

creature." (Mark 16:15).

There was no written gospel at that time, but the Lord Christ

meant preaching the news of salvation to all people.

 

The same applies to St.  Paul the Apostle; by the words, "The

gospel which was preached by me," he meant the good news of

salvation which he preached.

Moreover,  "I  went  up  again  to  Jerusalem                    and

communicated to them the gospel which I preach among the

Gentiles" (Gal 2:1, 2); by which words he meant the preaching

among the Gentiles that they also have attained salvation.

When he said, "For God is my witness, Whom I serve with my

spirit in the gospel of His Son" (Rom 1:9), he meant preaching

about His Son; for there is nothing called "the gospel of His

Son" or "the gospel of Christ".

 

(10) WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHRIST AS SON OF GOD AND US AS CHILDREN OF GOD?

Question:

We are God's children and we pray, "Our Father Who are

in heaven" and Christ is the Son of God; what is the

difference between Christ's sonship to God and ours?

Answer:

The Lord Christ is the Son of God, of God's essence and

same Divine Nature.

He is of the same divinity with all divine attributes.  Hence He

could say, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father." (John

14:9) and "I and My Father are One." (John 10:30).  The Jews

took up stones to stone Him because being a man, He made

Himself God (John 10:31, 33).  This fact was asserted by St.

John the Evangelist when he said, "The Word was God" (John

1:1).

 

The Lord Christ is the Son of God since eternity, before the

ages.

He is born of the Father before all ages as He said in His

soliloquy with the Father, "O Father, glorify Me together with

Yourself with the glory which I had with You before the world

was." (John 17:5).

As He was before the world and being God's uttered reason it

was said, "All things were made through Him and without Him

nothing was made that was made." (John 1:3).

On  the  other  hand,  our  sonship  to  God  is  a  kind  of

adoption and honour granted in a certain time.

St.  John the Beloved said, "Behold what manner of love the

Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of

God!" (1 John 3:1).  We are called so, out of God's love for us.

It was also said, "But as many as received Him, to them He

gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe

in His name:" (John 1:12).

Therefore, it is not natural sonship of His essence, otherwise we

would be gods!!  It is also connected with time, for it was not

there before our believing and accepting baptism.

Since Christ's sonship to the Father is natural sonship of

the same essence, He is called "The Only Begotten Son."

That is the Only Son of His essence, nature and divinity.

 

It was thus said, "For God so loved the world that He gave His

Only Begotten Son." (John  3:16).

The same expression - The Only Begotten Son - was repeated

in (John 3:18) and in (John 1:18), "No one has seen God at any

time.  The Only Begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the

Father, He has declared Him," and also in (1 John 4:9), "In this

the love of God was manifested towards us, that God has sent

His Only Begotten Son into the world, that we might live

through Him."

In being the Only Son, His sonship is certainly different from

ours.

Therefore, this matchless sonship is received by us with

belief and worship.

In the story of the man born blind, for  example, when the Lord

found the man who was cast out by the Jews, He said to him,

"Do you believe in the Son of God?" and the man answered,

"Who is He, Lord, that I may believe in Him?" and having

known Him, the man said, "Lord, I believe!" and worshipped

Him (John 9:35-38).  If the Lord was just son of God like

others, there would be no need for belief and worship.

Furthermore, believing in this sonship was the aim of the

gospel.

St.  John almost, at the end of the gospel, says "And truly Jesus

did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which

are not written in this book; but these are written that you may

believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of GOD, and that

 

believing you may have life in His name." (John 20:30, 31).

When St.  Peter confessed this belief, saying, "You are the

Christ, the Son of the living God," the Lord considered his

confession the rock on which the church was to be built (Matt

16:16, 18).

The Lord Christ, being alone the natural Son of the Father,

was called the Son as in many verses demonstrating His

Divinity.

The mere words "The Son" are taken to refer to the Lord

Christ.

Some examples are:

+ "For as the Father raises the dead and gives life to them,

even so the Son gives life to whom He will.  For the Father

judges no one, but has committed all judgement to the Son, that

all should honour the Son just as they honour the Father."

(John 5:21-23).

+ "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free

indeed." (John 8:36).

+ "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who

does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God

abides on him." (John 3:36)

+ "Who makes His angels spirits and His ministers a flame of

fire.  But to the Son He says, 'Your Throne, O God, is forever

and ever...'" (Heb 1:7, 8).

 

There are many other examples which imply the same meaning.

Being the Son, He is worshipped by all God's angels.

About the greatness of the Lord Christ, the apostle said, "But

when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says,

'Let all the angels of God worship Him'".  (Heb 1:6).

The Lord Christ was referred to as the Son of God on

occasions of miracles.

+ When the centurion and those with him, who were guarding

Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened,

they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son of God!"

(Matt 27:54).

+ Nathanael, when the Lord told him that he saw him under the

fig tree, believed and said, "Rabbi, You are the Son of God!

You are the King of Israel!" (John 1:49).

+ Those who were in the boat and saw him walking on the sea,

came and worshipped him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of

God." (Matt 14:33).

+ When the Lord Christ said to Martha before raising her

brother, "I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in

Me, though he may die, he shall live."  Martha answered, "Yes,

Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is

to come into the world." (John 11:27).

 

The testimony of John the Baptist at the time of the Lord's

baptism with the accompanying wonders.  St.  John said, "And I

have seen and testified that this is the Son of God" (John 1:34).

Therfore, it is evident that the Lord's sonship to the Father

is not an ordinary sonship like that of all believers.

 

 

(11) ADAM AND THE LORD CHRIST

Question:

I heard someone say that Adam is greater than Christ; for

if Christ was born of a woman having no intercourse with a

man, Adam was not born of a man nor of a woman?  What

is your opinion?  Who is greater then?

Answer:

There is no ground at all for comparison between Adam

and the Lord Christ.  However, we shall state the following

points:

1. The Lord Christ was born in a miraculous way indeed.  No

one ever has been or will ever be born in such a way.  Adam, on

the other hand, has nothing to do with birth; for he was created

from the dust of the ground which is a lower case.  As he was

born of the dust of the ground he was called Adam, whereas the

Lord Christ is born not created.

 

2. The Lord Christ is the Word of God (John 1:1), but Adam is

just a servant of God.

3. The Lord Christ is distinguished from Adam by holiness and

perfection.

Adam sinned and drew with him all the world to sin, but the

Lord Christ is the only One who never sinned and is so called

Holy       (Luke   1:35).    He  is  the  only  One  who  defied  His

generation, saying, "Which of you convicts Me of sin?"

(John 8:46).

4. Adam - because of his sin - was driven out of Paradise (the

Garden).  But the Lord Christ came to save Adam and his

offspring and bring them again to Paradise.  Is it reasonable then

that he who was driven out of Paradise be greater than Him

who brought him back to it?

5. Adam died and turned into dust after being eaten by worms

and no one knows where he was buried.  But the Lord Christ

saw no corruption in His body.  No one ever said that His body

was eaten by worms, for He ascended to heaven and sat on the

right hand of the Father.

6. Adam did not rise from the dead up till now and still waits

the general resurrection, whereas the Lord Christ did rise in

great glory and He will come at the end of ages for judgement,

to judge the quick and the dead.

 

7. We never heard that Adam had a message to the world nor

even had a history except that he was created, he sinned, he was

driven out of Paradise and died and one of his sons was the first

murderer in the world.  But the Lord Christ had a great

message; that of Salvation.  He carried the sins of the whole

world and died to redeem them.  He rectified the errors of His

generation and guided the people of His time, whereas Adam

never did anything like this.

8. The Lord Christ was the Master and Teacher; He left the

greatest doctrines to His generation and to all generations.  All

who heard Him were astonished at His nderstanding (Luke

2:47).  But our father Adam left us nothing, not even a word or

a piece of advice!

9. The Lord Christ worked miracles which no one ever worked,

such  as  raising  the  dead,  creating  and  wonderful  healing

miracles like that of healing the man born blind (John 9).  We

never heard that our father Adam worked a single miracle!  Can

we then compare him to the Lord Christ of Whom St.  John the

Beloved said that He had done many other miracles if written

one by one, even the world itself could not contain the books

that would be written (John 21:25).

10. The Lord Christ possessed the attributes of leadership, so

He was followed by thousands; whereas Adam did not lead

anyone, not even his wife but was rather led by her when she

gave him of the prohibited fruit and he ate, contravening the

commandment.

 

11. All the aforementioned is related to the human aspect, but

with respect to the divinity of the Lord Christ, we cannot

compare a person created to Him Who, "All things were made

through Him and without Him nothing was made that was

made." (John 1:3).  This single point needs a whole book on

Christ's Divinity.

12. It is true that Adam is the father of all of us, but to say that

he  is  greater  than  the  Lord  Christ  is  unreasonable  and

unacceptable.  Many of Adam's offspring were greater than him!

And this has nothing to do with the respect due to him being a

father.

 

(12) WHY - AFTER SALVATION - DO MEN TOIL AND WOMEN CONCEIVE

IN PAIN?

Question:

God inflicted punishment on Adam, "In the sweat of your

face you shall eat bread", "Cursed is the ground for your

sake, in toil you shall eat of it."  (Gen 3:19,17) and He

punished Eve, "I will greatly multiply your sorrow and your

conception; in pain you shaft bring forth children." (Gen 3:16).

Then the Lord Christ came and saved us with His blood.  Why

then - after such salvation - there is a punishment still: Man toils

to eat bread and woman in pain brings forth children?

Answer:

In fact the punishment of sin was death and the Lord

Christ came to save us from death by dying on our behalf.

God's commandment to our father Adam was: of the tree of the

knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day

that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Gen 2:17).

Eve understood this well and mentioned it to the serpent,

saying, "...of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the

Garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch

it, lest you die'".   (Gen 3:3).

This is the teaching of the Holy Bible, for the apostle says, "For

the wages of sin is death." (Rom 6:23).  And about this death,

he said also, "And you...who were dead in trespasses and sins."

(Eph 2:1).  "Even when we were dead in trespasses, made us

alive together with Christ." (Eph 2:5; Col 2:13).

Since the wages of sin is death, the only way leading to

salvation is redemption, by which one dies on behalf of another.

This was the essential idea implied in the sacrifices of the Old

Testament and the essence of the crucifixion and death of Christ

for us.  That is why we say that the Lord Christ bore our sins on

the cross and died for them.

As  for  toil  and  pains  of  conception,  they  are  temporal

punishments.

They are not the original punishment, but just to remind us that

we  sinned  and  thus  redemption  be  valuable  in  our  eyes.

Therefore God kept these punishments for our benefit to remind

us.  But some might not suffer these punishments - such as

children for example- but they remember them when they grow

up.

 

(13) WHY DID WE NOT DIE IMMEDIATELY AFTER SINNING?

Question:

The Lord God said to our father Adam, "But of the tree of

the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the

day that you eat of it you shall surely die." (Gen 2:17).

Why then did not Adam and Eve die on the same day they

ate of the tree?

Answer:

It seems that the question concentrates on the death of the

body alone, whereas there are other kinds of deaths which

our forefathers died on that same day:

1. There is moral death, by which our forefathers lost the divine

image they had in the likeness of God (Gen 1:26, 27).  After

Adam had sinned, God said to him, "Dust you are and to dust

you shall return."  (Gen 3:19).  Thus, Adam became dust

after having been in God's image.  This moral death appears

also in Adam's being sent out of the Garden of Eden (Gen

3:23).  As a consequence of this moral death, Adam lost the

purity and innocence he had before eating of the tree and he got

the knowledge of evil and became aware that he was naked

(Gen 3:21).

2.  There is also spiritual death, which is separation from

God.

Adam became afraid from God and began to hide from His face

and stand before Him as guilty and sinful.  Sin is indeed death as

the father said about his lost son, "For this my son was dead."

(Luke   5:24).  The apostle also described the widow who lives

in pleasure as dead while she lives (1 Tim 5:6).  When Adam fell

in sin, he deserved the description given afterwards to the Angel

of the Church in Sardis, "You have a name that you are alive

but you are dead." (Rev 3:1).  It was not the death of the body

but spiritual death as that by which the widow who lives in

pleasure was described.

3.  Adam  and  Eve  were  also  under  sentence  of  eternal death.

That was the reason for being prevented by God from eating from the tree of life (Gen 3:22).

When he died, he went to Hades and waited for the salvation of Christ.

 

4. As for the death of the body, it began to work in Adam

and his nature became mortal.

His nature became mortal from the moment he ate from the tree

as we say in the Holy Mass, "The death that entered into the

world by the envy of Satan."

However, this death delayed for the following reasons:

+ If Adam had died at that same moment, all of humanity would

have perished and have no existence.  We would have not been

born, nor he who asked this question.  But God had blessed

Adam and Eve and said to them, "Be fruitful and multiply; fill

the earth and subdue it." (Gen 1:28).

+ The blessing of multiple offspring must have come true

because God is faithful even if we are faithless.

+ The coming of this offspring would give a chance for the

coming of the Virgin from the offspring of Adam and Eve and

the  coming  of  the  Lord  Christ  born  from  Her  by  whom

salvation will be given and in whom all the nations of the earth

shall be blessed (Gen 3:15, 22:18).

Postponing death was then necessary that the Lord Christ

may come and effect salvation.

However,  this  postponement  does  not  mean  that  the

sentence of death was not executed fully and at that same

time as aforementioned.

Question:

Since the wages of sin is death and the Lord Christ died on

our behalf and saved us, why then do we die?

Answer:

The Lord Christ saved us from spiritual and moral death.

With regard to spiritual death which is separation from God, the

apostle tells us, "We were reconciled to God through the death

of His Son." (Rom 5:10).

As for moral death, the Lord delivered us from it restoring us to

our first rank.  He gave us again the divine image and as the

apostle says about baptism, "For as many of you as were

baptised into Christ have put on Christ." (Gal 3:27).

 

We restored our moral position as God's children (1 John 3:1)

and temples of His Holy Spirit (1 Cor 6:19).

He saved us from eternal death.

It is thus written in the Holy Bible, "For God so loved the world

that He gave His Only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in

Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16).

Hence, the death of Christ for us gave us eternal life and by His

death He saved us from eternal death.  This is the basis of our

salvation.

As for bodily death, it is no more death in fact.  By bodily death

we mean separation of the spirit from the body.  Thus we say to

the Lord in the Litany of the Departed, "It is not death of Your

servants but rather transmission."  It is transmission to Paradise

and to communion with the Lord Christ.  Therefore St.  Paul

the Apostle desired this death, saying, "...  having a desire to

depart and be with Christ, which is far better."

(Philem. 1:23).

As St.  Paul called it departure, so also Simeon the Elder called

it.  He prayed to God, saying, "Lord, now You are letting Your

servant depart in peace, according to Your word; for my eyes

have seen Your salvation." (Luke 2:29, 30).

 

Each of these two saints : Paul and Simeon the Elder desired

this (death), for each saw in it release from the prison of the

flesh and St.  Paul considered it far better than this life.

Hence, bodily death is not considered punishment.

It is just a golden bridge leading us to the happy eternity.

Moreover, this so called death does great favour to us; for

without it we shall remain in this corruptible nature of the flesh,

whereas through it we shall attain a more sublime nature.

It is the way to put off corruption and put on incorruption.

God, the lover of mankind, does not want us to remain in this

nature which became corrupt with sin, this corruptible nature

which is subject to hunger, thirst, fatigue and illness and which

can do wrong.  He, in his love, wills to transfer us from such

nature to a better condition of which the apostle said in (1 Cor

15:49), "As we have borne the Image of the man of dust, we

shall also bear the image of the heavenly."

He then explains in more detail, "For this corruptible must put

on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality." (1

Cor 15:53).

The apostle says also, "The body is sown in corruption, it is

raised in incorruption.  It is sown in dishonour, it is raised in

glory.  It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.  It is sown a

natural body, it is raised a spiritual body." (1 Cor 15:42-44).

 

Death, then, is the natural way that leads us to the glories

of the Resurrection.

If we continue in the present nature - without death - we would

sustain great loss.  Thus, it is not right to consider death as

punishment, but rather as change into a better nature.

Suppose that God abolished this bodily death as a result of

salvation, what can be expected as a consequence?

Do you think that remaining in this material body of dust is the

optimum status for man?

Remember that this includes what accompanies the old age,

whether weakness or sickness.  Moreover the complaint of

those around, as the poet said what means that a person hopes

to live though long life may be harmful to him.  He will lose his

cheerfulness and finds pain after comfort.  His days might betray

him and he will find nothing pleasant.

The optimum condition for man is the bright spiritual body

which rises in power, in glory and in incorruption and this is

what God wanted for us by death.

The question might have been serious if there was no

resurrection after death in such glory.

 

It is the resurrection that will deliver us from the bondage of

corruption, for which the whole creation groans and labours

with birth pangs eagerly waiting for this redemption of our body

(Rom 8:21-23).

 

(15) OUR ATTITUDE TOWARDS THE LORD CHRIST'S BLOOD.

Question:

Someone said to me, since the Blood of the Lord Christ is

for all people and he has forgiven all, even the atheist and

wicked, we should then be confident of the sufficiency of

His Blood no matter what might be our condition.  Our

attitude towards the Lord Christ is not important, but His

attitude towards us!  What is your opinion of these words?

Answer:

It is true that the Blood of Christ is for all people and we should

be confident of the sufficiency of His Blood: for He gave us

redemption sufficient for the forgiveness of the sins of all people

in all generations, but   the words "Our attitude towards the

Lord Christ is not important" are completely wrong and

against the teaching of the Lord Himself.

 

First, a person must believe in the Lord Christ and His Blood

and must accept Christ and His redemption; for, no doubt, he

who does not believe will be condemned (Mark 16:16).  Do not

say then that our attitude towards Christ is not important,

because if we do not believe in the Lord Christ and the efficacy

of His Blood, we cannot attain redemption or forgiveness.

Though the Blood of Christ is for all people and the salvation of

Christ is for all, yet, none but those who believe in him will

attain this salvation.  This fact is indicated by the Holy Bible,

"Whoever believes in Him should not perish." (John 3:16).

He did not say "all the world" but "whoever believes in Him."

Therefore the words "He has forgiven all, even the atheist and

wicked" cannot be accepted as long as the atheist remains

atheist and the wicked remains wicked.

There is no forgiveness for the atheist unless they forsake

atheism and believe in the Lord Christ.

This is an attitude which they should have towards Christ.  They

should believe and accept the Lord Christ bearing their sins and

saving them.  Without accepting Christ, they will not attain

forgiveness as it is stated in the Holy Bible, "But as many as

received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of

God." (John 1:12).

 

The Lord Christ's attitude towards you is clear, what about your

attitude towards him?

He wants to save you, but He will not do this without you.

He is standing at the door knocking, but you must open the

door.

He says to you, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock.  If

anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come into

him and dine with him and he with Me." (Rev 3:20).

So, if you do not open - this shows your attitude towards Him -

you will not attain salvation.  How easy it is for Him to leave

you to your obstinacy until you cry out, "My beloved had

turned away and was gone    I sought him, but I could not

find him." (Song 5:6).

Do not say then that our attitude is not important, but His!

If the matter depends on the Lord Christ wholly all people

would be saved.

"He desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge

of truth." (1 Tim 2:4).

However, there should be a human response, otherwise the

Lord will say, as He said before to Jerusalem, "How often I

wanted                                                             but you were not willing!  See! your house is left to

you desolate." (Matt 23:37, 38).

 

How can it be that one's attitude be not important?  See what

the Lord Christ says, "But whoever denies Me before men,

him I will also deny before My Father Who is in heaven."

(Matt 10:33).  This is due to one's attitude.

Accepting  the  Lord  Christ,  believing  in  Him  and  in  His

redemption are essential matters and principal attitude that a

person should take instead of being passive towards Christ

What else?

The Lord says, "He who believes and is baptised will be

saved." (Mark 16:16).

It is not sufficient only to believe so that you may attain the

deserts of the Lord Christ's Blood, but you should also get

baptised.  You should be, "Buried with Him through baptism."

(Rom 6:3), to die with Him and arise with Him.  That is why

Ananias said to Saul of Tarsus - after he accepted the Lord and

believed in Him - "Brother Saul ...  why are you waiting?  Arise

and be baptised and wash away your sins." (Acts 22:13, 16).

Can you say then "Why should I be baptised, what avails is the

attitude of Christ towards me?" By being baptised, you put on

Christ, as St.  Paul said, "For as many of you as were baptised

into Christ have put on Christ." (Gal 3:27).

Among other serious things regarding your attitude is the

Holy Communion for example:

 

The Lord says, "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 abides in Me and I in him." (John

6:53, 56).

Would you say then "I will not eat His Flesh nor drink His

Blood.  What is important is His attitude towards me!"

Do you think that life with God is a passive attitude on

your part?

Do you want God to do everything and you remain passive, as

if you were led unto doing good or were not participating with

God in work?

What then would be the difference between the righteous and

the wicked?  The Lord Christ says, "Whoever does the will of

My Father in heaven is My brother and sister and mother."

(Matt 12:50).

Hence, you must decide your attitude towards Him by

doing His will.

Or do you want to be among God's people without doing His

will and are satisfied with His attitude towards you?  See what

the Holy Bible says, "Every tree which does not bear good fruit

is cut down and thrown into the fire." (Matt 3:10).  Now are

you bearing fruit, or you are satisfied with the attitude of Him

who willed and implanted you in His vineyard?

His attitude is to implant you in His vineyard and your attitude

is to bear fruit.

He ever requires this from us, saying, "Abide in My love.  If you

keep My commandments, you will abide in My love." (John

15:9, 10).

You should take an attitude towards the Lord Christ, you

should love Him as He loved you so that love may not be from

one part only, the part of Christ who loved you and sacrificed

His Blood for you.

If you do love Him, do not sin against Him and if you had lived

before in sin, you should decide your attitude now by repenting.

Repentance is essential as an attitude on your part so that

you may benefit from the Blood of the Lord Christ.

The Lord Himself says, "Unless you repent, you will all likewise

perish," (Luke 13:3).

Would you not then repent, but say "What avails is Christ's attitude

towards me?"

The foregoing words represent the Lord Christ's attitude towards

those who do not repent: they will perish.

His attitude towards you is that He wants to wipe out your sins with

His Blood, provided that you repent, otherwise you will not benefit

from the Lord Christ's Blood.

Does the sinner have a share in the Blood of Christ?

Yes, provided that he repents.  His attitude is thus important.

 

 

(16) HOW CAN HE DIE THOUGH HE IS GOD?

Question:

Is it possible that Christ dies though He is God?  Can God

die?  Was the death of Christ a weakness?  Who was

managing the world during His death?

Answer:

God cannot die.  The divinity cannot undergo death.

Thus, we say in the Trisagion, "Holy is God, Holy is the

Powerful, Holy is the Living and Immortal."

However, the Lord Christ is not only Godhead, but He is united

with a human body.

He took on Himself a body of our human nature and that is why

He was called "Son of Man".  His human body is united with a

human spirit which is mortal like ours, but it is united with the

divine nature without separation.

 

When He died on the cross, He died in the body; in the

human body.

Thus, we say in the ninth hour prayer, "You who tasted death in

the body at the ninth hour                                            "

The death of Christ was not out of weakness, nor was it

against His divinity.

It was not against His divinity because the Godhead is living -

by His nature - and is immortal.

Moreover, He willed that His human body dies as a pleasing

sacrifice and also for the redemption of the world.

His death was not also out of weakness for the following

reasons:

1. His death was not weakness, but rather love and sacrifice as

the Holy Bible says, "No one has greater love than this, to lay

down one's life for one's friends." (John 15:13).

2. The Lord Christ offered Himself to death by His own will.

He laid down His life to redeem humanity from the judgement

of death.  This is evident in His great words, "I lay down My

life that I may take it again.  "No one takes it from Me, but I lay

it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have

power to take it again. This command I have received from My

Father." (John 10:17, 18).

 

The weakness of an ordinary person in his death lies in two

matters:

a) An ordinary person dies against his will and he has no power

to escape from death, unlike the Lord Christ who laid down His

life without anyone taking it from Him.

b) When an ordinary person dies, he cannot rise unless God

raises him.  But the Lord Christ has risen by Himself and said

about His life, "I have power to take it up again."  These words

can only be said by one who is powerful not weak.

3. Among the signs of the Lord's power in His death are the

following:

a) In His crucifixion and death, "At that moment the curtain of

the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom and the earth

quaked, and the rocks were split, and the graves were opened;

and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised

"  So  when  the  centurion  and  those  with  him,  who  were

guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had

happened, they feared greatly, saying, "Truly this was the Son

of God!"(Matt 27:51-54).

b) In His death He worked also; for He opened Paradise and let

in Adam, the other righteous people and the thief.

 

c) Through His death He abolished death (2 Tim 1:10), (Heb

2:14).  Thus death became a mere golden bridge bringing

people to a better life.  Therefore St.  Paul the Apostle said, "O

Death, where is your sting?" (1 Cor 15:55).

Who then administered the universe during His death?

It  was  His  Godhead  who  administered  the  universe;  His

Godhead that never dies and was never affected by the death of

the body.  The Godhead is present everywhere and is also in

heaven (John 3:13).

 

(17) HOW DID THE LORD CHRIST DIE WHILE HIS DIVINITY WAS NOT SEPARATED FROM HIS HUMANITY?

Question:

How did the Lord die though we say that His divinity was

not separated from His humanity even for a moment or a

twinkle of an eye?

Answer:

The death of the Lord Christ means the separation of His

spirit from His body, not the separation of His divinity

from His humanity.

Death belongs to the body - to humanity alone.  It is a

separation between the two elements of humanity, i.e.  the spirit

and the body.  This does not mean that divinity was separated

from humanity.

The beautiful Syrian Fraction prayed in the Holy Mass explains

this fact in clear words.  It says:

"His spirit was separated from His body, but His divinity

has never been separated from His spirit nor from His

body."

The human spirit was separated from the human body, while the

Godhead was not separated from any of them but remained

united with them as before death.  The only difference is that

before death the Godhead was united with the spirit and the

body of Christ together, whereas after death, the Godhead was

united with them while each of them was apart from the other,

i.e., the Godhead became united with the human spirit alone and

with the human body alone.

A proof of this fact - i.e.  the Godhead was united with the

Lord's human spirit during His death - is that the Lord's

spirit, being united with the Godhead, was able to open Paradise

that had been closed since Adam's sin and could go to Hades

and release the righteous people of the old times who departed

in hope letting all of them into Paradise with the thief who was

on the Lord's right hand on the cross and whom the Lord

promised, "Today you will be with Me in Paradise." (Luke

23:43).

The proof of the Godhead being united with the Lord's

body during His death is that the body remained completely

undecayed and He could rise on the third day and come out of

the closed tomb in mystery and power; the power of the

Resurrection.

 

What happened then in the Resurrection?

In the Resurrection the Lord Christ's human spirit united with

the Godhead, was united with the body that was united with the

Godhead also.  The divinity never was separate from humanity

neither before nor during death nor after it.

 

(18) THE BODY OF THE LORD CHRIST IN THE CHURCH AND EUCHARIST.

Question:

Is it true that the body of the Lord Christ, i.e., the Church,

is the same body on the altar and the same body that

ascended into heaven and sat on the Father's right hand,

both being One?  Is this mentioned in the sayings of any of

the father saints?

Answer:

1. The Lord's body that is on the altar is the body born by the

Holy Virgin Mary, the body that was crucified, buried and risen,

that ascended into heaven and sat on the right hand of the

Father.

As for the Lord's body, meaning the Church, it refers to the

whole congregation of believers and it is not reasonable to

say that they all were born of the Holy Virgin.

 

Is it possible that the millions of Christians who live now, the

millions who departed and the millions who will be born in

future, all of them are born of the Holy Virgin as the body who

sat on the Father's right hand and moreover they are that same

body?

2. We worship the Lord's body that is on the altar and say, "We

worship Your Holy Body, O Lord."  We say also, "His divinity

was not separated from His humanity not even for a moment or

a twinkling of an eye."  We say the same to the body that

ascended and sat on the right hand of the Father.

It is different from the body of the Lord meaning the Church;

for we do not worship the Church nor say about it - as a body -

that its divinity was not separated from its humanity!!

3. The Lord Christ's body that is on the altar is the body that

redeemed us and died for us then ascended into heaven in glory.

Can we say then it is the church that redeemed us, died for us

and ascended into heaven in glory?

4. We partake of the Lord's Body and Blood on the altar, do we

partake of the Church (if we agree that the Church and the

Lord's Body are One)?  God forbid...

5. The Lord Christ's Body, meaning the Church, is not yet

complete.  There are

members that have not yet joined it, i.e., those who are not yet

born and those who will accept faith in future.

 

But the Lord Christ's Body that is on the altar and in heaven is

perfect without deficiency and no other members will join it.

6. The Lord Christ's Body, meaning the Church, is ourselves

while His Body that is on the altar and in heaven is Christ

Himself.  If both are One, are we then Christ?

Are we sitting now on the Father's right hand?  Are we in

heaven?  And when we partake do we partake of the Church or

of Christ?

7. The Lord Christ's Body, meaning the Church, includes all the

believers who have not yet completed their struggle and who

are still struggling against the evil powers and not yet crowned.

As for the Lord's body that is on the altar and sitting on the

right hand of the Father, it has no members who are still

struggling the evil power to conquer and be crowned.  It has

overcome and is glorified and helps us to walk in the procession

of His victory.

8. The Lord Christ's body on the altar is a real body in the literal

meaning of the word "body".  But the Church is the Lord's

Body in the spiritual meaning as it is His bride in the spiritual

meaning also

9. If the Church is the same Body of the Lord Christ that is on

the altar and on the Father's right, we would be lead to the

heresy of "the one existence" in which many philosophers and

heretics fell.

 

10. No one of the fathers adopted this wrong opinion and if it is

attributed by any Christian writer to any saint, this writer is

certainly wrong in conveying the words or in understanding the

intent of the saint and should make sure of the text and its

source.

It is impossible that any of the saints speak words contradicting

faith  exposing  himself  to  criticism  as  we  have  seen  while

analysing this thought.

Dear reader, you should examine carefully all that you read and

don't believe what some may attribute to saints which saints did

not say.

 

(19) SATURDAY & SUNDAY

Question:

A Sabbatherian Adventist priest visited us and said, "It is

written in the Holy Bible, "Heaven and earth will pass

away, but My words will not pass away" and the Law

commands us to keep the Sabbath holy.  Why then do we

not keep it?"

Answer:

The  Law  commanded  in  the  Old  Testament  keeping  the

Sabbath, but it also commanded to offer animal sacrifices for

every sin and trespass (Lev 4), do this Adventist priest and his

followers offer animal sacrifices in obedience to the Law?

Does he offer these sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem?  Or

he breaks the Law in this point.  Does he keep the fasting of the

fourth month, the fifth month, the seventh month and the tenth

month as the Bible says in (Zech 8:19)?  Does he celebrate the

festival of booths, the festival of trumpets, the festival of the

weeks and the festival of the unleavened bread as the Law

commands in (Lev 23)?  Why does not he say about these

 

festivals "not one letter, not one stroke of a letter will pass from

the Law until all is accomplished." (Matt 5:18)?

Does he and his family celebrate the Passover every year and

bring a lamb and keep it from the tenth to the fourteenth day,

then they eat it roasted over the fire with unleavened bread and

bitter herbs with their loins girded, sandals on their feet, staff in

their hand and eat it hurriedly then for seven days they eat

unleavened  bread  and  remove  leaven  from  their  houses

according to the Law (Ex 12:6-9).  Is this Adventist priest

descending from Aaron as the Law requires?

Does he keep the commandments of the Law as stipulated in

the Old Testament?  Does he observe all rules of uncleanliness

and purification and abstain from foods prohibited by the Law?

Or is it only the Sabbath that concerns him whereas "For

whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet stumble in one

point, he is guilty of all." (Jas 2:10).

Would that this Adventist brother come out of the letter to the

spirit and oversteps the symbol to the thing symbolised; for

some commandments are given to us in the Old Testament in

order that we understand it in a new spiritual way in the New

Testament.  Would that he listens to the words of the apostle, "

if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world,

why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to

regulations;  "Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle " (Col

2:20, 21).

 

Such commandments are only "a shadow of what is to come"

including also the commandment of the Sabbath.  So, the

apostle says,"So let no one judge you in food or in drink, or

regarding a festival or a new moon or sabbaths ".  (Col 2:16).

So, the commandment of the Sabbath - in its literal meaning -

ended and let no one condemn you for it as the apostle said

about the Sabbath and other regulations which are, "a shadow

of things to come,." (Col 2:17).

And so long as the Holy Bible considered the Sabbath one of

the regulations which are a shadow of what is to come, which

means that it was a mere symbol and changed by the appearance

of the thing symbolised ie.  Sunday, thus we are not requested

to keep it literally according to this express commandment of

the New Testament.

However, God's words do not pass away; the Sabbath, in

its spiritual meaning, is still kept.  What then is its spiritual

meaning?

The word "Sabbath" means rest and the commandment of

keeping this weekly rest for the Lord is still existing; for we

take rest in the real Lord's Day which is Sunday, on which the

Lord took rest actually.  What does this mean?  How did the

Lord take rest on Sunday?

The Lord took rest after offering His blood on Friday for our

salvation by paying the debt of sin in full on the cross.  He

released all the world from the debt of sin, but death remained.

 

The Lord had to release us from death as well so as it does not

continue as a ghost terrifying us and He released us from it on

Sunday by His resurrection and victory over death.  Thus

Sunday became the real rest of the Lord on which He released

us from death and from the wages of death.

Would that we take the spirit not the letter of the Law.

It is written, the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life.         (2 Cor 3:6)

The spirit of the Law is the rest on the Lord's day and the great

day of the Lord was Sunday on which He got rid of death which

was the most dangerous enemy of man.

For more detail, see my book "The Ten Commandments - Part

1 - Fourth Commandment"

 

(20) WHY DO WE BAPTISE BABES WHO HAVE NOT YET BELIEVED?

Question:

Since the Lord Christ has said, "He who believes and is

baptised will be saved." (Mark 16:16), why then are children

baptised before accepting faith?

Answer:

We baptise children because baptism is necessary for their

salvation.

The Lord Christ said to Nicodemus, "Most assuredly, I say to

you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit." (John 3:5).

We baptise children so that they become members of the church

and benefit from Its spiritualities.

They benefit from the church Sacraments, they come to the

church and take part in celebrating the Holy Mass and have

communion.

 

Why do we deprive children of such spiritual atmosphere and

benefits?  Is it because they are young?  The Lord Christ says,

"Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for

of such is the kingdom of heaven " (Matt 19:14).

Some may object saying that a child cannot accept faith and

faith is necessary for salvation.  We reply: Faith is necessary

for the grown ups who need to be convinced by reasoning.

The grown up need preaching and ministry of the word to be

convinced and accept faith, whereas children believe whatever

we say to them.  They have no objection to faith: for they have

not attained yet the age of doubt and argument.  On the other

hand, the grown ups should declare their faith before baptism

and should learn the rules of faith as the church used to do for

the catechumens before their receiving baptism.

Children  are  baptised  according  to  the  faith  of  their

parents.

In the Holy Bible, there are many examples of children who

were baptised after the faith of their parents and joined the

church as members (among the believers) on the basis of their

parents' faith also.  Among those are:

1.  Salvation of the firstborn by the blood of the Passover

lamb.

The symbol is very clear in this great historical event.  The

Passover is a symbol of the Lord Christ as St.  Paul said, "For

 

indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us." (1 Cor 5:7)

and the Passover blood is a symbol of the blood of Christ by

which we attained salvation as the Lord said, "When I see the

blood, I will pass over you." (Ex 12:13).

Here we inquire:  Had the children who were saved by the

Passover blood believed in the blood first?

Of course not, but they were saved because of the faith of their

parents who sprinkled the doors with the blood trusting the

Lord's words and trusting that the blood will save their children

from perdition and it happened.

Was it necessary to ask every child saved whether he had

believed in the Passover blood first or not?

Perhaps some were still babes knowing nothing.

2. The Children who were saved from slavery of Pharaoh

by crossing the Red Sea.

The symbol of salvation is very clear here.  The crossing of the

Red Sea was considered baptism by St.  Paul the Apostle (1 Cor

10:2).  Most of these children crossed the Sea on the shoulders

of their parents not knowing what was going on.

But their parents believed in the Lord's promise of salvation to

Moses and they crossed the Sea in trust.  Their faith saved their

children with them.

3. The Children who were circumcised on the eighth day:

Circumcision was a symbol of baptism, through which a child

 

becomes a member of God's people and unless a child is

baptised he perishes.  What did a child understand from all this?

What was his belief on his eighth day from birth?  Should we

have asked such a child about his belief in the circumcision law

as given by the Lord to our father Abraham (Gen 17).  Was not

he circumcised according to the faith of his parents and this was

accounted righteousness for him and he joined God's people by

it?

4. The children who were baptised among their families.

It is written about Lydia, the purple cloth dealer, that "she and

her household were baptised." (Acts 16:15).  The children were

not excluded.  It is said also about the jailer who believed

through the preaching of Paul and Silas,  "Immediately he and

all his family were baptized." (Acts 16:33).  Was there not any

child among all those?  The same is said about Crispus the

official of the Synagogue (Acts 18:8).  St.  Paul the Apostle

says also that he had baptised "the household of Stephanas."

(1 Cor 1:16) without excluding the children.

In General, no verse in the Holy Bible prohibits baptising

children.

However, when children grow up, their faith will be tested.  If

they were steadfast they will continue in their faith, if not they

will not benefit as in the case of grown ups who were baptised

but were not steadfast, no difference.

 

(21) WHY DOES ONE SIN AFTER RENEWAL OF BAPTISIM?

Question:

Do we not believe that a person is renewed in baptism

(Rom 6:4)? Why then does one sin after baptism in spite of

being renewed?

Answer:

In baptism, one obtains renewal, not infallibility.

No one on earth is infallible.  Notice David the prophet in the

Old Testament: how the Spirit of the Lord came upon him (1

Sam 16:13) but this did not prevent him from sinning afterwards

(2 Sam 24:10).  Samson also, " the Spirit of the LORD began to

move upon him." (Judg 13:25) " And the Spirit of the LORD

came mightily upon him." (Judg 14:6), however, he sinned and

broke his vow (Judg 16:19, 20).

Thus, renewal in baptism does not mean that a person does not

sin thereafter.

 

The principle  is that one's nature  becomes inclined  to

righteousness and sin becomes incidental.

This  means  that  a  person's  spiritual  capabilities  become

extensive and he becomes worthy to have the Holy Spirit dwell

in him through the Holy Chrism (Myron).  When he sins, his

conscience blames him quickly and he becomes ready to return

to God.

Not to sin at all will only be realised in eternity where we

shall put on the crown of righteousness.  St.  Paul the

Apostle said, "Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of

righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to

me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have

loved His appearing." (2 Tim 4:8) This means that our nature

will be crowned with righteousness in the other life and will

have righteousness as a nature so as not to sin afterwards. (See

my book, "Life of Repentance and Purity" the Chapter on

"Purity").

Here, on earth, the righteous fall seven times and rise again

(Prov 24:16).

They are still considered righteous because righteousness is the

principle, whereas falling is incidental.  One falls and gets

purified through repentance.

 

(22) CAN A BLESSING BE TAKEN FROM A HUMAN?

Question:

If blessing belongs to God, can blessing be taken from a

human?  Can a person bless another person?  What is the

biblical evidence of this?

Answer:

Yes, a blessing can be taken from a human and in this case it

will be a blessing from God Himself.  There are many examples

for this in the Holy Bible such as:

E    The blessing given by Isaac to Jacob.

Isaac blessed his son Jacob (Gen 27) and Jacob became blessed

from God and became favoured than Esau.  He took the rights

of the firstborn and priesthood and from his offspring Christ

came and all the families of the earth are blessed in him and in

his offspring (Gen 28:14).  Esau wept for losing this right of the

firstborn (Gen 27:38).

It is written also, "By faith Isaac blessed Jacob and Esau

concerning things to come." (Heb 11:20).

Jacob, likewise, blessed his sons.

His blessing came true with respect to each one of his sons as if

every word from him was coming from the mouth of God

Himself.  And when Jacob blessed Ephraim and Manasseh

putting his right hand on Ephraim the younger and his left on

Manasseh the elder, Ephraim became greater than Manasseh

(Gen 48:13-20).  "So he blessed them that day, saying, 'By you

Israel will invoke blessings, saying God make you like Ephraim

and like Manasseh', So he put Ephraim before Manasseh."

And the blessing came true.  Jacob blessed also Joseph his son

(Gen 48:15, 49:22-26).

E Preceding these, our father Noah blessed his sons and

cursed Canaan.

The sons of our father Noah whom he blessed became blessed

and on the other hand Canaan whom Noah cursed (Gen 9:26,

27) became cursed even from the mouth of the Lord Christ in

His talk with the Canaanite Woman (Matt 15:22, 26).

From all this, many blessings came: The blessing of the parents:

E Whoever honours his parents is blessed,

How much rather if those parents are holy people.  An example

of the blessing of the parents is that in (Gen 31:55), "And early

in the morning Laban arose, and kissed his sons and daughters

and blessed them."

 

E    The blessing of the righteous.

The Holy Bible mentions this clearly as in: (Prov 11:11), "By

the blessing of the upright a city is exalted."

(Prov 28:20) “A faithful man will abound with blessings."

The men of God also blessed people as when Simon the elderly

blessed the holy Virgin and Joseph the Carpenter (Luke 2:34).

E The righteous person does not only bless others but he

himself becomes a blessing.

The Lord said to our father Abraham, "I will make you a great

nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you

shall be a blessing." (Gen 12:2).  And to the house of Judah the

Lord said, "I will save you, and you shall be a blessing." (Zech

8:13).

Likewise, Elijah was a blessing to the house of the widow of

Zarephath and Joseph the righteous to the house of Potiphar

and to Egypt.

E There is also the blessing of priesthood:

There is the blessing of Moses the prophet & priest (Psa 99:6)

to the people as it is written, "Then Moses looked over all the

work,  and  indeed  they  had  done  it;  as  the  LORD  had

commanded, just so they had done it. And Moses blessed

them." (Ex 39:43).  The Lord even explained the way by which

Aaron's sons should bless people, He said to Moses, "  Speak to

Aaron and his sons, saying, 'This is the way you shall bless the

children of Israel. Say to them:  "The LORD bless you and

 

keep you;  The LORD make His face shine upon you, And be

gracious to you;  The LORD lift up His countenance upon you,

And give you peace".  (Num 6:22-26).

Another  example  of  the  blessing  of  priesthood  is  when

Melchizedek the priest of God Most High blessed Abraham the

Patriarch (Gen 14:19,Heb 7:1).  St.  Paul the Apostle explained

that the inferior is blessed by the superior (Heb 7:7).

E    There is also the blessing of the prophets as men of

God.

We read about King Saul that he went out to seek the blessing

of Samuel the Prophet (1 Sam 13:10).

Likewise, some leaders sent messengers to David seeking his

blessing (1 Chr 18:10).

Solomon the Wise as well - having divine inspiration blessed all

the people (1 Kin 8:14), "Then the king turned around and

blessed  all  the  assembly  of  Israel".                          (2  Chr   6:3),  "Then

Solomon stood before the altar of the Lord in the presence of

the all assembly of Israel and spread out his hands." (2 Chr

6:12).

And Jehu the king blessed Jehonadab son of Rechab (2 Kin

10:15).

E    Another blessing is the blessing of the needy to those

who give them charity.

It is the blessing which a benevolent obtains from a person

whom  he  offered  help  or  saved  from  perdition.    Job  the

Righteous said in this respect, "The blessing of a perishing man

 

came upon me." (Job 29:13).  It means that he took the blessing

of the person whom he saved.

E There is a blessing which stands for prayer by anybody.

The apostle says, "Bless those who persecute you; bless and do

not curse them." (Rom 12:4).  And the Lord Christ says in the

Sermon on the Mount, "Pray (bless) for those who persecute

you." (Matt 5:44).

St.  Peter as well says, "not returning evil for evil or reviling

for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you

were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing." (1 Pet

3:9).

So, blessing can be given by one person to another to sum up all

the above, we mention the following blessings given by humans:

1. Blessing of our forefathers.

2. Blessing of the parents.

3. Blessing of the righteous.

4. Blessing of the clergy.

5. Blessing of the prophets and anointed persons.

6. Blessing of the needy to those who give them charity.

7. Blessing by anybody as a prayer.

The blessing of those might be a prayer to which God responds

and blesses.  They are vessels in which blessing of God is

conveyed.  God entrusted them with His stores to

give from them to others...

 

(23) THE HOLY TRINITY OF CHRISTIANITY AND THE SO CALLED TRINITY OF HEATHEN.

Question:

Is  there  any  similarity  between  the  Holy  Trinity  of

Christianity  and  the  pagan  trinity?    Or  what  is  the

difference?  And was the cause of spreading Christianity in

Egypt the similarity between the Trinity of Christianity and

the pagan trinity as manifested in the story of Osoris, Isis

and Horus?

Answer:

If we say that the cause of spreading Christianity quickly in

Egypt is the similarity between its dogmas and the dogmas of

the pharaonic Egypt, what then is the cause of the spreading of

Christianity in other countries of the world?

 

Was it also a matter of similarity of dogmas?  And if there

was   similarity,   why   was   Christianity   persecuted   by

paganism?

Why did the pagans kill St.  Mark who preached the gospel in

Egypt?  Why had there been harsh conflict between paganism

and Christianity along four centuries which ended with the

extermination of paganism as its worshippers abandoned it and

the idols were destroyed...                                         !

No  doubt  Christianity  revealed  the  falsehood  and  wrong

concepts of paganism and not the similarity!  Otherwise there

would  have  been  no  need  for  a  new  religion  to  replace

paganism.

As regards the dogma of the Trinity, it is clear that paganism

does not believe in it.

Paganism believes in plurality of gods on a large scale not in

trinity.

Pharaonic Egypt believed in god "Raa" who created god "Sho" and

goddess "Neftoot."  These two married and gave birth to god "Gab"

the god of earth and goddess "Nout" goddess of heaven.

These in turn married and gave birth to Osoriso, lsis, Sett and

Naftis.  "Osoris" & "Isis" married and begot god Horus.  There

were also many other gods worshipped by the Egyptians.

Where then is the trinity amidst all this multitude of gods?

Can we choose three of those gods and call them trinity?

 

In the story of Osoris and Isis for example, we mentioned ten

Egyptian gods.  Even in this story when Isis saved her murdered

husband Osoris and restored him to life, she was helped by

Tohoot, god of wisdom, Anobis, god of mummification and by

her sister Naftis.  It is not then confined to a trinity i.e.  to three

gods and the old Egyptian dogmas have no such dogma known

as trinity.

However, we say:

Christianity does not only believe in trinity but in Trinity

and Oneness (monotheism).

This monotheism is not acceptable to the old religions

which believe in plurality.

The Christian Creed begins with "Truly we believe in One

God", and after in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy

Spirit, we say, "One God.  Amen".  And St. John the Evangelist

says in his first epistle, "For there are three that bear witness in

heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these

three are one." (1 John 5:7).

The Words "God is one" are stated in many places of the Holy

Bible:

It is mentioned in (Gal 3:20), in (Jas 2:19), in (Eph 4:5), in (1

Tim 2:5), in (John 5:44), in (Rom 3:30), in (Matt 19:17) and in

(Mark 12:29, 32).  It also represented the first Commandment

(Ex 20:3), how clear was the text of that commandment "The

LORD our God, the LORD is one!" (Deut 6:4).

 

This same phrase "One God" was mentioned many times in

Isaiah on the mouth of God Himself as in (Is 43:10, 11), (Is

45:6, 18, 21), (Is 46:9).

Christianity proclaims that the three persons (Hypostases) are

One God.

This is stated in (1John 5:7) and in the words of the Lord Christ

" baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son

and of the Holy Spirit." (Matt 28:19).  He said "in the name"

not "in the names".

Perhaps one may ask how 1+1+1 = 1, we reply that l x l x l = l.

The Trinity represents the One God with His wisdom and His

Spirit, as we say of a person that he and his mind and spirit are

one being and that the fire with its light and heat are one thing.

Osoris,  Isis and Horus on the other hand are not one but

three gods.

This is the first difference between this story and the Holy

Trinity of Christianity.

The second difference lies in the story of a marriage between a

man god, Osoris and a woman goddess, Isis, begetting a son

god, Horus.

There is no women nor marriage in the Christianity, God

forbids!

 

If we say that every father, mother & son from a trinity, it

would be in every place, in every country and in every family.

However, this has nothing to do with the Christian Trinity.

The Son in Christianity is not the offspring of a sexual

propagation.

God forbids that this be in Christianity, for God is Spirit (John

4:24)  and  He  is  above  sexual  propagation.    The  Son  in

Christianity is God's uttered wisdom or God's wise utterance.

The Son's filiation to the Father in the Trinity is the same as we

say the mind begets a thought, yet the mind and the thought is

one thing without sexual propagation.

A thought comes out of the mind while still in it and not

separate from it, whereas in sexual propagation, the son has an

independent entity separate from his father and mother who

each has a separate independent entity as well.  That is the

difference between this and the Christian Trinity.

The Persons of the Christian Trinity are not separate from

each other.

The Son says "I am in the Father and the Father is in Me."

(John 14:11).  "I and My Father are One." (John 10:30).

Horus cannot say I and Osoris are one!  He is in me and I am in

him.

Furthermore the Persons of the Christian Trinity are equal

in being eternal not differing in time.

God has His wisdom and Spirit since eternity.

But in the story of Osoris and Isis the son Horus was not in

existence before being born, he came to existence afterwards.

There may also be some difference in age between Osoris and

Isis and they also came to existence only when being born by

Gab and Nout.

God in the Holy Trinity in Christianity is from eternity, with His

Wisdom and His Spirit.  There was no time when one of these

Person had no existence.

For all the aforementioned reasons, there can be no resemblance

between the Holy Trinity of Christianity and the numerous gods

of paganism with their variety in sex (a male god and a female

goddess) and marriage of gods and begetting children.

(24) DOES INCARNATION MEAN LIMITATION?

Question:

Does the Incarnation of the Lord mean that He is limited

within certain boundaries though He is limitless?

Answer:

Incarnation  does  not  mean  limitation,  because  God  is  not

bounded within a certain place.  When He was in the body in a

certain place, He was in the Godhead everywhere.  It is the

same as we say that God was speaking with Moses on the

Mountain but He was not only on the Mountain but was at the

same time everywhere managing the whole world with its

continents.  Likewise when God was speaking with Abraham

and when He appeared to other prophets, He was at the same

time in every other place.

When we say that God is on His throne, we do not mean that

He is only on the throne but He is also glorified here and

present everywhere.  His throne is in heaven, His throne is also

in every place where He is glorified.  He is in heaven and

heaven is not vast enough for Him.

When He spoke to Nicodemus in Jerusalem, He said, "No one

has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven,

that is, the Son of Man who is in heaven." (John 3:13).  That is,

He was in heaven while speaking to Nicodemus in Jerusalem.

He was in the body visible in some place.  At the same time

in the Godhead He was invisible in other places.

As Godhead He is in every place, but the people see Him in the

body in a certain place.  This does not contradict with His being

in the Godhead in all earth and heaven as the Godhead is

unlimited.

(25) IS CHRIST FOR JEWS ONLY?

Question:

Did the Lord Christ come for the Jews only, the lost sheep

of the house of Israel?  Can His religion be thus confined to

the Jews, not extended to the whole world?  And was

Judaism also confined to Jews?

Answer:

Religion leads people to God and teaches them about God,

about His commandments, the way of worshipping Him and

their relationship with Him.

Therefore,  any  religion  should  be  to  the  whole  world

because God is the God of all people and His way is for all

people.    This  is  applicable  to  both  Christianity  and

Judaism.

In Judaism God was not for the Jews alone, but for the whole

world.  However, the Gentiles did not believe in Him because

they were involved in the worship of idols and other gods.

Whoever believed  in God, from among  the Gentiles,  God

accepted and did not reject.

A strong evidence of this is the story of Nineveh, a city of

Gentiles not Jews to which God sent Jonah the Prophet.

When Nineveh repented and believed through the call of Jonah,

God accepted their repentance and faith and said to Jonah, "And

should I not pity Nineveh, that great city?" (Jonah 4:11).

Another example is Rahab the Gentile from Jericho and also

Ruth the Gentile from Moab.  Both of them were accepted by

God and were mentioned among the grandmothers of Christ

(Matt 1).

The queen of Sheba accepted faith and was married to Solomon

the Wise and according to the Ethiopian tradition she begot

Menilek from Solomon.  There is also the Ethiopian woman

whom Moses the Prophet married (Num 12:1).  The sailors of

the ship which Jonah the prophet rode also accepted faith (Jon

1:16).

There are many other examples in the Old Testament for the

conversion of the Gentiles.

As for the New Testament, it is evident that Christianity is

for the whole world.

The message of Christ is salvation, for the whole world as the

Holy Bible says, "For God so loved the world that He gave His

only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not

perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16).

When John the Baptist saw the Lord Christ, he said, "Behold!

The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!" (John

1:29).  The same was repeated by St. John the Evangelist in (1

John 2:2).

To understand the message of the Lord Christ, it is enough to

refer to what He said to His holy disciples, "Go into all the

world and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)

and, "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations.

Baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of

the Holy Spirit." (Matt 28:19) and also, "You shall be witnesses

to Me in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria and to the

end of the earth." (Acts 1:8).

The Lord even chose Paul the Apostle to carry His name to the

Gentiles, "I will send you far from here to the Gentiles." (Acts

22:21).  The Lord said to him also, "as you have testified for

Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome."

(Acts 23:11).

About preaching the gospel, the Lord said, "And this gospel

of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness

to all the nations." (Matt 24:14).

The Lord praised also the faith of the Gentile centurion, saying,

"I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel." (Matt

8:10) and praised the faith of the Canaanite woman, saying to

her, "great is your faith." (Matt 15:28).

The Lord gave as an example of good work the good Samaritan

who was better than the priest and the Levite (Luke 10:30-37)

and emphasised the fact that the Gentiles are accepted, when He

said, "Many widows were in Israel in the days of Elijah ...  but

to none of them was Elijah sent except to Zarephath ...  to a

woman who was a widow." (Luke 4:25, 26) and likewise with

regard to the cleaning of Naaman the Syrian by Elisha the

Prophet (Luke 4:27).

The  Lord  permitted  the  conversion  of  Cornelius  the

Gentile.

The Holy Spirit was poured on Cornelius and those with him so

they spoke with tongues (Acts 10:46) and the Lord permitted

Philip to baptise the Ethiopian eunuch (Acts 8:27-38).

The father apostles as well in the Council of Jerusalem talked

about accepting the Gentiles into faith and explained the way

they should be treated (Acts 15).  Of course they did not take

any decision against God's will.

The whole Book of the Acts of the Apostles tell about the

extended preaching to the Gentiles.

The Acts tell us how the apostles spread faith in Asia Minor, in

Cyprus, Greece & Italy and reached Spain and other non Jewish

countries.  Thus, Christianity spread throughout the whole

world till it reached us as well as others.

Preaching to the Jews was just a preliminary work, a mere

starting point since they have the Law, the symbols and the

sayings of the prophets.

But  Christianity  never  said  that  faith  stopped  at  this

starting point not extending farther.

The Lord Christ, preached first amidst the lost sheep of Israel,

who had the fathers & the prophets and the Law, but they

refused Him.  So, it is written, "but as many as received Him,

to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those

who believe in His name." (John 1:12).  The phrase, "as many

as received Him" does no refer only to Jews.  It was only in the

first training missionary that the Lord Christ sent His disciples

to the Jews alone, not to the Gentiles or Samaritans, because

they were not yet able to bear this at the start of their service.

The   Gentiles   rejected   and   despised   them   and   the

Samaritans did not deal with them.

The Samaritans once rejected Christ Himself and did not receive

Him (Luke 9:53).

Such rejection and enmity on the part of the Samaritans and

Gentiles was not fit for the apostles being still beginners in

service so as not to find the work hard and fail in performing it.

However, the Lord Christ prepared the way before them to

serve Samaria.

He preached to the Samaritan woman and the Samaritan people

and they accepted Him.  Thus, He said to His disciples, "I sent

you to reap that for which you have not labored." (John 4:38).

Then He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem till

they have received power from the highest and said to them,

"But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come

upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem and

in all Judea and Samaria and to the end of the earth." (Acts

1:8).

Notice here the gradual programs that carried their preaching to

the end of the earth.  However, it is evident that the acceptance

of the Gentiles started since the birth of Christ as manifested in

the wise men from the East who believed in him and presented

their presents to Him and the Lord accepted them.

(26) WHAT DOES SITTING ON THE RIGHT OF THE FATHER MEAN?

Question:

What  is  the  theological  meaning  of  the  words,  "He

ascended to heaven and sat on the right of the Father?"

Does God have right and left as we humans have?

Answer:

By Christ's ascension to heaven is meant His ascension in the

body, because the Godhead does not ascend or descend, for He

is present in heaven and earth and in between filling all.  What

the disciples saw was the ascension in the body (Acts 1:9).

As for sitting on the Father's right, God has no right nor

left.

The words right and left are said only of limited beings, but God

is  unlimited.    Besides  there  is  no  space  around  Him  for

anyone to sit in; for He is filling all and present in all places.

Furthermore, if the Son sat beside Him, they would be beside

each other while the Son said, "I am in the Father and the

Father in Me." (John 14:11).

The word "right" in fact, refers to power, greatness and

righteousness.

We say in (Ps 118:15-17):

" The right hand of the LORD does valiantly.  The right hand of

the LORD is exalted; The right hand of the LORD does

valiantly.  I shall not die, but live."

Likewise, is the case when the righteous will stand on the right

of the Lord and the wicked on His left on the Day of Judgement

(Matt 25).  So, Christ being on the Father's right means in His

greatness and righteousness.  Therefore, the Lord Christ said to

the high priest, "Hereafter you will see the Son of Man sitting

at the right hand of the Power." (Matt 26:64).

The word "sitting" here means settled ...  settled in the Power.

Hence, the case of making Himself of no reputation (Philem

2:7) ended by the Ascension.  Also the spitting, striking and

scourging ...  etc, ended and He settled in the greatness and

when he comes in the second coming He will come in His glory

with the holy angels with Him (Matt 25:31), on the clouds of

heaven as He ascended (Acts 1:11).

(27) WHAT IS THE MEANING OF PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE?

Question:

What is the meaning of the words "partakers of the divine

nature" (2 Pet 1:4) and "the communion of the Holy Spirit"

(2 Cor 13:14)?  Do we partake of God's divine nature?  Did

the human nature unite with the divine nature in the

disciples when the Holy Spirit descended on them on the

Day of Pentecost?

Answer:

Who partakes of or unites with God in His nature, becomes

God!  This is against sound faith.  Only those who believe in

deifying man (in nature not mere title) say this and it is part of

the heresy "unity of existence" by which man thinks of himself

more highly than he ought to think (Rom 12:3).

The right interpretation of the words "partakers of the divine

nature" is the following:

We partake of the divine nature in work, not in essence.

It means that we do not be partakers of the divine nature in the

attributes  belonging  to  God  alone  such  as  eternity  and

limitlessness.  It is communion in work for the edification of the

kingdom whether through our own salvation or winning the

others for salvation.

The same may apply to "the communion of the Holy Spirit"

(2 Cor 13:14).

We can never succeed in any work unless God works with us:

for, "Unless the Lord builds the house, they labor in vain who

build it." (Ps 127:1).  And in the Travellers Litany we say,

"Take part in the work with Your servants."

If God's Spirit takes part in the work with us, we take from Him

power and grace and our works be successful and in accordance

with God's will, thus we become in "communion with the Holy

Spirit" in work.

On the Day of Pentecost, the gifts of the Holy Spirit poured

on the disciples.

This realised the prophecy of Joel the prophet, "I will pour out

of My Spirit on all flesh: your sons and your daughters shall

prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall

dream dreams." (Acts 2:17, Joe 2:28).  It was also a realisation

of the Lord's promise to His disciples, "But you shall receive

power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you and you shall

be witnesses to Me." (Acts 1:8).  Speaking in tongues was

among the gifts God granted them (Acts 2:6).  This gift of

speaking languages helped spread faith.

The unity of the divine nature and the human nature

happened only in the Incarnation of the Lord Christ alone.

Can it be believed, then, that all the disciples became like Christ

on the Day of Pentecost?

Here we face a question: What distinguishes Christ from others?

The divinity of Christ is attacked in two ways:

a) Either lowering Christ to the level of ordinary humans as the

Arians did; or

b) Raising humans to the level of Christ as those who believe in

the philosophy of deification of man proclaim on the ground

that the nature of humans united with the nature of God!

If we say that man united with the divine nature, it means

that he became God and became infallible.  In this case he

does not sin, he is not mere human.

But the action of God's Spirit in man is one thing and the unity

between God's nature and man's nature is something different.

We do not unite with God's nature.  Let's be humble and behave

as humans as our father Abraham said about himself that he is

dust and ashes (Gen 18:7) and as Job the Righteous also said

(Job 42:6).

(28) HAVE CHRIST'S MIRACLES BEEN WORKED BY IMPRESSION?

Question:

What is your opinion of saying that Christ's miracles have

been worked by impression?

Answer:

Impression is an influence on one's heart and thoughts to be

convinced of something,

but:

1.  Can  there  be  any  relation  between  impression  and

raising of the dead?

A person may impress a living person and influence his heart

and  thoughts,  but  cannot  have  any  influence  on  the  dead

whereas the Lord Christ raised the dead such as the daughter of

Jairus (Mark 5:41, 42), the son of the Widow of Nain (Luke

7:11-17) and Lazarus (John 11:17-44) and all of these are of

course beyond impression.

The son of Nain was raised by Christ while carried in a bier on

the way and Lazarus was raised after four days in the tomb in

front of the consolers.  Did the impression extend to the

consolers and to those who escorted the dead?  Or did the

impression enter into the tomb or the bier of the dead to

influence him?

2. No relation is there between impression and the insane or

possessed.

How can one impress an insane who has no control over his

mind and feelings? or impress a possessed who is controlled by

the devils?

The Lord Christ healed many insane such as the demon -

possessed, blind and mute (Matt 12:22) and the insane of the

country of the Gadarenes who was seized by the demons and

was always bound with chains and shackles and was driven by

many demons (Legion) (Luke 8:29-32), can such a person be

influenced by an outer impression?

3. No relation is there between impression and casting out

of unclean spirits.

An unclean spirit cannot be impressed, we have an amazing

example the man with the unclean spirit who was crying out but

the Lord Christ rebuked him, saying, "  Be quiet, and come out

of him!"  And when the unclean spirit had convulsed him and

cried out with a loud voice, he came out of him.  Then they

were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves,

saying, "What is this? What new doctrine is this? For with

authority He commands even the unclean spirits, and they obey

Him." (Mark 1:25-27).

What impression is here?  This miracle was in the Synagogue in

Capernaum in front of all the people there and they felt the

power and authority of Christ.  The same happened when the

Lord healed the mute demon-possessed man.  He cast out the

demon and the man spoke, so the multitude marvelled, saying,

"It was never seen like this in Israel." (Matt 9:32,33).

In another miracle of healing, the Lord Christ rebuked the

unclean spirit, saying, "You deaf and dumb spirit, I command

you, come out of him and enter him no more." (Mark 9:25, 27)

and the man was cured from that very hour (Matt 17:18).

4. No relation also is there between impression and nature:

sea, wind and trees.

Even if it is possible to have impression on rational beings, it is

completely impossible to have impression on non living and non

rational beings.

For example the fig tree, which represents hypocrisy, which the

Lord Christ cursed, saying, "Let no one eat fruit from you ever

again." (Mark 11:14) and immediately the tree withered away

(Matt 21:19).  Did it wither by impression?  And when the great

tempest arose on the sea and the boat was covered with the

waves, the Lord Christ "arose and rebuked the wind and said

to the sea, 'Peace, be still!' and the- wind ceased and there

120

 

was a great calm." (Mark 4:39).  Is it by impression or through

authority over nature?  Let the greatest psychologists in the

world calm a stormy sea through impression.

Besides  the  nature  miracles,  there  are  the  miracles  of

fishing.

The first miracle was with Peter the Apostle before being

invited.  He had spent the whole night without catching any fish,

but on the word of Christ the fish increased and filled the two

boats till they began to sink because of the great number of fish

(Luke 5:1-7).

The second miracle was after the Resurrection (John 21:10-14).

Of course the fish did not come suddenly into the net due to an

impression but upon the word of Christ!!

5. No impression is there in healing a person from afar.

The Lord Christ healed the daughter of the Canaanite woman at

the request of her mother.  That daughter in her home had not

been under any impression.  The Lord-glory be to Him- said to

the Canaanite woman, "Go your way, the demon has gone out

of your daughter."  And when she had come to her house, she

found the demon gone out and her daughter lying on the bed

(Mark 7:29-30).  In the same way the Lord said to the king's

nobleman, "Go your way, your son lives." (John 4:50) and the

son  was  healed  from  that  hour  though  he  was  at  home

not exposed to an impression.  Likewise the centurion's servant

was healed through the word of Christ from far away (Matt

8:13).

6.   Creating  works  as  well  cannot  be  performed  by

impression.

Feeding the four thousand men besides women and children by

seven loaves and a few little fish (Matt 15:32-38) cannot be by

impression.  Moreover, seven large baskets were left full of the

fragments which means that a new substance was created.

And the feeding of the five thousand men, besides women and

children by five loaves and two fish cannot have been by

impression!  Even if they had the impression that they were

filled,  how  would  there  remain  twelve  baskets  full          (Matt

14:20)?  From where had such a quantity come unless they were

created by a miracle not by impression?

The same happened in the miracle of giving sight to the

man born blind.

The Lord Christ created eyes to him, a matter which cannot

have been performed by impression especially that the way

Christ used for this was capable to cause the opposite!  The

Lord put clay on the eyes of the blind man and this may cause

blindness to one having sight!  Then He ordered him to go and

wash in the pool of Siloam (John 9:6, 7).  Such washing was

easy to remove clay not to create an eye with tissues and

nerves!!  The clay cannot be a means of giving impression of

sight to the man!

In the same way the water was turned into wine by a

miracle.

The Lord created a substance that was not before, because

water has not the compounds of wine.  He did this without any

process whatsoever; He just said, "Fill the water pots with

water." (John 2:7) then said, "Draw some out now                  ”  Thus, a

new substance was created by the Lord's mere will.  There was

no impression because the guests who drank it knew nothing

about what had happened, it was done by the servants not by

one of the guests.  Where is the impression then?

7. Healing of infirmities cannot be effected by impression.

A blind cannot have sight by impression or a lame have a leg by

impression: nor a dumb, a mute or a deaf can be healed by

impression.

The Lord Christ worked many such miracles.  For the blind, He

healed Bartimaeus (Mark 10:52) and another one with him

(Matt 20:34).  He healed the blind man of Bethsaida (Mark

8:22-26), the blind and mute man (Matt 12:22) and two blind

men (Matt 9:27-31).

He healed the deaf and the mute (Mark 7:31, 37), (Matt 9:32-

33), (Luke 19:42) and many other examples such as healing the

ear of Malchus the servant of the high priest which was cut off

by someone (Luke 22:50, 51).

8. Healing of the leper cannot be effected by impression.

The leper had to stay away from the community and when he is

healed the priest examines him to make sure that he got well so

he can be allowed to join the community after offering a

sacrifice.  However, the Lord Christ healed the leper by a touch

of his hand and immediately they were cleansed (Mark 1:41)

(Matt 8:2,3).  He healed ten leper men at one time (Luke 17:11-

19) and they showed themselves to the priests as usual.  Were

the priests also under impression?

Many other incurable diseases were healed by Christ.

9. No impression can be effected in case of so many miracles

and so many onlookers.

Perhaps  one  person  may  come  under  impression  and  be

influenced, but when hundreds of people with various diseases

and different psychological and mental abilities are healed, the

matter becomes different as in the miracles worked by Christ.

St. Luke the Evangelist says, "When the sun was setting, all

those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought

them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and

healed them." (Luke 4:40, 41).

St. Matthew the Evangelist says about the Lord that He was

"healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among

the people." (Matt 4:23).  And St.  Mark the Evangelist says,

"they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were

demon-possessed.  And the whole city was gathered together at

the door.  Then He healed many who were sick with various

diseases and cast out many demons." (Mark 1:32-34).

Were all those and the onlookers as well "under impression"?

10. The miracles that happened in the life of Christ Himself

could not have been due to impression.

Such miracles as His Resurrection, His appearance to eleven

then to all His disciples, His transfiguration, His virgin birth...

etc., all such miracles could not have been due to impression.

(29) DID CHRIST WORK HIS MIRACLES BY PRAYER?

Question:

Did Christ pray before working the miracle so that God

might do it and respond to His prayer?

Answer:

If we examine the miracles worked by Christ, we shall find the

opposite.

He healed diseases just by a command from Him not by

prayer.

E    To the paralytic He said, "Arise, take up your bed and

go to your house." (Matt 9:6-8) and he arose and departed to

his house.

E    To the man at Bethesda who had an infirmity thirty-

eight years, He said the same words, "Rise, take up your bed

and walk" and immediately the man was made well, took up his

bed and walked (John 5:8, 9).

E    To the man with the withered hand He said, "Stretch out

your hand, and he stretched it out and it was restored as whole

as the other." (Mark 3:5).

E    When Simon's wife's mother was sick with a high fever,

He rebuked the fever and it left her immediately and she arose

and served them (Luke 4:38) (Mark 1:31).

By command also He had power over unclean spirits and

over nature.

He ordered the unclean spirits to come out as in (Mark 9:25,

27), when He said, "You deaf and dumb spirit, I command you,

come out of him."  And when He rebuked the unclean spirit and

the spirit came out the people were amazed and said, "with

authority He commands even the unclean spirits and they obey

Him." (Mark 1:27).  What prayer did he say at that time?  He

even rebuked He wind and the waves and there was a great

calm by His command (Mark 4:39).

He raised the dead by His command.

He raised the son of the widow of Nain while in the coffin,

saying to him, "Young man, I say to you, arise" and the dead

young man sat up and began to speak (Luke 7:14, 15).  In the

same way He raised the daughter of Jairus, one of the rulers of

the Synagogue, commanding her, "Little girl, I say to you,

arise”, and immediately the girl arose and walked (Mark 5:41,

Lu 8:54, 55).  No mention was made of prayer in both cases.

He healed some of the sick by laying His hands on them.

"He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them."

(Luke 4:40).  When healing the deaf man, He put His fingers in

the man's ears and said, "Ephphatha i.e.  be opened" and

immediately his ears were opened and he was healed (Mark

7:35).  He put His hands on the blind man of Betheseda and the

man restored his sight (Mark 8:25).