By Godwin Kalu Nchege
Thank you sir for your well written articles on the above subject. After reading the articles I felt there were aspects of the scripture and or their meanings which you failed to take into consideration or which you gave superficial or literal meanings to, and I thought your attention should be drawn to such meanings
FIRST LET US AGREE ON CERTAIN FUNDAMENTAL RULES
– That laws are made by a body like NASS. That it takes another body made up of juries to interpret it and to the extent to which its application goes. So it was that God made His own laws and commandments and gave to us through His prophets.
– The second rule which is constant is that God does not change. What He shows us as truth on a Monday He continues to uphold as such on a Tuesday.
– Having said this, we can look at some of the commandments of God as they appeared in your articles of February 18 and 25 and March 4, respectively.
– Let me assure you that contrary to what you said in the article, the Catholic Church did not and would not remove any part of the first commandment from their own “non- scriptural version of the 10 commandments”. This commandment is still intact in the Catholic Bibles (-DOUAY – RHEIMS and THE NEW JERUSALEM versions) as it was documented incidentally by the fathers of the same Catholic Church and given to the world. The problem is your understanding of these commandments, how you interpret them vis –a – vis worship and how the Catholic Church understood them from the inspirations she had from the Holy Spirit that made her codify this beautiful document the Bible. God, having given His commandments through His prophets, made His Church – The Church of Rome, with His son Jesus Christ as the head and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church – the juries. These juries are necessary to avoid what Peter foresaw when he said: “In all his letters they are of course some passages which are hard to understand and these are the ones that the uneducated and unbalanced people distort in the same way as they distort the rest of the scripture to their own destruction”. 2nd Peter 3:16-17.
– At this point, let us pause and look at images in the scriptures and see how the magisterium see them alongside worship.
– Three of them stand out clearly and will help us know the essence of the first commandment. The first is the mercy seat with the winged creatures. Ex. 25: 17-22. The second is the golden calf. Ex. 32:1-10, and the third is the bronze serpent. Num. 21: 6-9.
– Two of these three images, the mercy seat and the bronze serpent, were ordered made by God Himself who gave Moses the Ten Commandments whose interpretation is the bone of contention. Sure God is not the God of contradiction. He could have not asked the Israelites, His chosen people, to make the winged creatures; and Moses to make the bronze serpent, which isIMAGES OF THINGS ON EARTH, and, at the same breath, command them not to have or make these things. If He did, either God got His commands mixed up or the point of the command is “NOT” to worship images as the Jews did at mount Sinai with the golden calf rather than not to have them.
– This brings us to what the worship of any god (even the true God) is. The Igbo man says “ Apa Aja na Aka Akpo Mmou Oku” which, translated means that those who worship any god do so with their sacrificial offering in their hands. Any worship without a sacrifice is a sham. In the temptation of Christ which you cited in your write up, I am sure you know that Satan was demanding that Christ worship him by sacrificing his salvific mission for the material things of the world. To sacrifice His sonship of God and take up a position lower than that of Beelzebul; a sacrifice in deed.
– How do we know that a sacrifice is what makes for what God considers a true worship. It is interesting to know that after living with the bronze serpent during the time of Moses, Joshua etc, the Israelites offended God with this image. They did this by offering sacrifice to the bronze serpent which they now called Nehusthan as they did to the golden calf at Sinai. And when king Hezekiah “abolished the high places broke the pillars cut down the sacredpoles and smashed the bronze serpent which Moses had made; for up to that time the Israelites offered sacrifices to it” the bible described his action thus: “he did what Yahweh considered as right just as his ancestor David had done.” Please compare EX. 32:8 to 2nd king 18:4 and you will have no problems as to what annoys God in images and what true worship is. You will really understand what God and his church, the Church of Rome, regards as worship. And if sacrifice is not the main ingredient in worship why did Christ demand at the last supper that his apostles offer the sacrifice of his body and blood to the father any time they are together in his behalf, when he said “do this in memory of me.” Luke 22:19, 1 Corinth, 23:27, 1Peter 2:4-5.
-Why did the apostles keep to this tradition Acts 2: 42-47 and handed same over to the Church of Rome. 1 Corinth 11:23-27.
– Lastly, if keeping images is evil, why did Christ compare his crucifixion with the image of the bronze serpent? John 3:14-15.
*To be continued.
*Nchege is a Catholic lay faithful, Abia State.