Intercession of saints

From the earliest times following the generation of Jesus & His Apostles, many, many Christians have regarded the dead in Christ as having become very much alive and exalted to positions of authority over the Church and the World, having supplanted the former principalities & powers of Ephesians 6:12. Such doctrines are a tacit witness to the position of global, historic Christianity that some form of the First Resurrection occurred around the time of the disappearrance of the Apostles. even though the Resurrection of the Rest of the Dead yet remained future, at the end of the Millennium in which they saw themselves living. Around the time of the Council of Nicea in 325AD, such beliefs came into full bloom throughout global, historic Christianity and are strongly held throughout the bulk of Christianity even today: (Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodox, Russian Orthodox, Anglican, etc.) It is partly what is meant by the Apostles' Creed, "I believe ... in the communion of the Saints." This accords well with the 56AD predictions of Christ's persecuted Apostle Paul and with what Christ's exiled Apostle John had foreseen around 63AD in the predictive vision of the book of Revelation. It was all expected to shortly come to pass after the New Testament was written.

1 Corinthians 6:2-4 ~written around 56AD by Christ's persecuted Apostle Paul to the Church at Corinth
Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3 Do you not know that we shall judge angels? How much more, things that pertain to this life?
NKJV

Revelation 20:4-6 ~foreseen around 63AD in the predictive vision to Christ's exiled Apostle John about "those things shortly to come to pass," Rev 1:1 & Rev 4:1
4 And I foresaw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I foresaw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. 5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
NKJV

From: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercession_of_saints

Intercession of saints

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Intercession of the saints is a Christian doctrine common to the vast majority of the world's Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Latin Rite Catholic, Eastern Catholic, and a number of Reformed Christian communities. Intercessory prayer is a petition made to God on behalf of others. If a believer prays for his children or friends, his enemies or leaders, then the believer is interceding on behalf of another. The doctrine of saintly intercession goes back to the earliest church. The justification for calling upon a saint in prayer is that the saints are both close to God, because of their holiness, and accessible to humans.

Some Christians say that Jesus' parable of Dives and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31 indicates the ability of the dead to pray for the living. Paul's repeated references to Jesus Christ as "advocate" for the believers also indicates that Jesus, living at the right hand of God, may intercede for the believer (Epistle to the Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). By extension, other holy persons who are living in Christ on earth or in heaven (having left their earthly existence) may be able to intercede-through Christ- on behalf of the petitioner. (John 11:25; Rom 8:38-39) This is a controversial doctrine, because in some faiths, only Jesus is holy enough to intercede for people. From the Catholic and Orthodox Churches perspective, as well as Anglican/Episcopalian and old line Lutheran perspective: if those living here on earth can intercede on behalf of each other, then those which have already been glorified in heaven, and are even closer "in Christ", are made holy as "one" unified through him (the mediator between God and men- on earth and heaven) by his sacrifice, can certainly intercede for those on earth as well. (Heb 2:11, 10:10; 1 Tim 2:1-5)

Catholic Church doctrine supports intercessory prayer to saints. Intercessory prayer to saints also plays an important role in the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox churches. Also some Anglo-Catholics believe in saintly intercession. They may point to such Scriptural passages as Tobit 12:12,15, Revelation 5:8, or Revelation 8:3-4, which depict heavenly beings offering the prayers of mortals before God. In addition, James 5:16 (where all those in heaven can be presumed to be living righteously), which states the prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective. Both those for and against the intercession of saints quote Job 5:1.

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[edit] Protestant views

Many Protestant churches strongly reject all saintly intercession, in seeming accordance with verses like 1 Timothy 2:5, which says that Jesus is the only mediator between God and man. The practice was attacked both by the Waldensians of the 12th century, and the various Gnostic Bogomil groups (including the Albigensians). The Calvinists and Zwinglians were particularly zealous in their rejection of saintly intercession. The Thirty-Nine Articles of the Church of England condemned the invocation of saints as "a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warranty of Scripture, but rather repugnant to the Word of God" (Article XXII). However, Oxford Movement led to a revival of the practice, which is now found among High Church Anglicans and especially Anglo-Catholics.

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