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
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
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
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?
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
2. As for the seventh day, the Bible did not state that it
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
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
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?
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...
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
Scientists do not say that the earth was part of the sun and
separated from it, otherwise the sun will be missing this
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
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
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
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.
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
(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?
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."
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.
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.
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."
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
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
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
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.
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.”
"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).
The Lord Christ absolutely did not mean the sword in its
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.
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?
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
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.
* 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
* 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.
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
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
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
A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was
slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to
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).
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"?
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
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.
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.
[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.
The Bible says "So the Master commended the unjust
steward" (Luke 16:8). How did the Lord commend the
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
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,
"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
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'?
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
+ "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.
+ "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
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
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
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 "
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
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
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
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.
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?
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
It was not meant for the Holy Bible to be a book of
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
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?
"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.
God does not accept the good works that come through
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
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 ".
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
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.
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...
The Lord Christ on the cross was representing all
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
In other words: "I have satisfied the Justice that You, 0
Father, have demanded, and therefore, forgive them".
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.
We read in the Bible some words which need to be
translated or explained in simple terms, as in the
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.
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.
The word "Mar", in Syrian and Aramaic means Master or
The word 'a'tha" means come.
The whole word means "the Lord comes" or "the Lord will
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.
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
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).
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
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
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
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 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.
The Lord blessed Job's wealth after the tribulation and
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
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
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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"
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
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?.
The origin and the source of this idea was "Origen" who
exaggerated in his interpretation of the Bible using the
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
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
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.
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
An important question we put before us if the sin was
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
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.
In this sin, the sin of becoming like God, Eve fell then Adam
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
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
(*See my book "Adam and Eve" which analyses Adam and Eve's sins into 27 sins)
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
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
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
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
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.
What is the meaning of the saying of the Bible "Do not
be overly righteous"?
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
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
Did Judas partake of the Holy Communion along with
the disciples on Maundy Thursday?.
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
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.
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?
No doubt Samson was saved, and the Lord accepted his
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
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)?
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"
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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".
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
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
8. Why then did John send two of his disciples to Christ
saying "Are You the coming One, or do we look for
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.
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
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) .
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)?
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. "
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.
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
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."
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.
Does the Bible discourage the growing in knowledge and
learning by saying "for in much wisdom is much grief?"
The Bible meant the harmful knowledge that troubles
There is information you gain, that might bring on you
spiritual fights and lusts, which later on you regret having
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.
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?
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
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.
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?.
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
+ 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
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.
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?
First we should understand the meaning of the word
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
Of course, here He did not mean the "Eternal
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.
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.
We shall mention here the signs that were recorded in the
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.
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
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).
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).
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
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
Does man have a free will or not? And if he does, is it
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Why did God create man?
Did he create man to worship and glorify Him?
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
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
Therefore we say, "It is I who am in need of Your
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."
Is conscience God's voice?
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
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
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
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 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
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
To what extent can a mad person be held accountable
for his sins? Or is he accountable at all?
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
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
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?
If the flesh had been evil in itself, God would have not
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
Both joined together in one action, i.e. breaking God's
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
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
"..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
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
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?
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?
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
The devils are spirits having no bodies to procreate like
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
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
Moreover, procreation needs conformity of kind or
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
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
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.
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
The Holy Spirit works in the unbelievers to make them
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.
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)?
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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".
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?
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
The Lord Christ is the Son of God since eternity, before the
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
In being the Only Son, His sonship is certainly different from
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
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
The Lord Christ, being alone the natural Son of the Father,
was called the Son as in many verses demonstrating His
The mere words "The Son" are taken to refer to the Lord
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."
+ "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!"
+ 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.
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?
There is no ground at all for comparison between Adam
and the Lord Christ. However, we shall state the following
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
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?"
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
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
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
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?
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
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
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?
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
2. There is also spiritual death, which is separation from
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.
Since the wages of sin is death and the Lord Christ died on
our behalf and saved us, why then do we die?
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
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."
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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."
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
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
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.
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?
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
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
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
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
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).
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?
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
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
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
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
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.
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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?"
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
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
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"
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?
We baptise children because baptism is necessary for their
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Do we not believe that a person is renewed in baptism
(Rom 6:4)? Why then does one sin after baptism in spite of
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
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
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
Here, on earth, the righteous fall seven times and rise again
They are still considered righteous because righteousness is the
principle, whereas falling is incidental. One falls and gets
purified through repentance.
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?
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
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
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
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
And Jehu the king blessed Jehonadab son of Rechab (2 Kin
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
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...
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
There is no women nor marriage in the Christianity, God
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
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
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
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.
Does the Incarnation of the Lord mean that He is limited
within certain boundaries though He is limitless?
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
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?
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
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
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
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
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."
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
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
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
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.
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?
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
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
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).
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?
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
What is your opinion of saying that Christ's miracles have
been worked by impression?
Impression is an influence on one's heart and thoughts to be
convinced of something,
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
2. No relation is there between impression and the insane or
How can one impress an insane who has no control over his
mind and feelings? or impress a possessed who is controlled by
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
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
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
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
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
6. Creating works as well cannot be performed by
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
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
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.
Did Christ pray before working the miracle so that God
might do it and respond to His prayer?
If we examine the miracles worked by Christ, we shall find the
He healed diseases just by a command from Him not by
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
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
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).