The purpose of this journey through the Bible is to know exactly how God saves us from sin, death and hell. It also reminds us of how He freely opens heaven for us.
We have seen how Adam and Eve chose to believe the devil’s word rather than God’s. We see the curse that their sin caused for all of us, their children. This disobedience caused a break in the way we communion with God, strife between husband and wife and brothers, blood shed, and disharmony between creation and man. God begins a new covenant with Noah after cleansing the earth with the flood. Abraham is called by God to start a new people of God by a covenant, a son and promised land. We see Sodom and Gomorrah destroyed for homosexuality and Lot and his family saved.
God continues to keep His covenant through Isaac, Jacob and his twelve sons. Jacob and his sons journey into to Egypt to survive a famine and are greeted by their brother Joseph whom God has blessed as the Pharaoh’s head steward. There they are blessed and multiply. But this threatens the Egyptians who begin to oppress them with death of baby boys and slavery. Moses is called by God to lead His people out of Egypt to offer sacrifice on Mount Sinai. The plagues, the death of the first born and the opening of the Red Sea and the drowning of the pursuing Egyptians are well know actions of the God for Israel. At Mount Sinai God renews His covenant with the Ten Commandments and ritual sacrifices.
The first five books of the Bible are filled with this history and the laws God has blessed His people with so that they may be holy and healthy. From the beginning, the Israelites rebel against God and Moses by worshipping the golden calf and complaining. They are punished by fire, plagues, earthquakes, stoning and sword. They are blessed with laws, miraculous victories, manna, quail, water and their clothes never deteriorating.
After Moses dies, Joshua leads the people miraculously into the Promise Land laden with milk and honey. God clears the cities and vineyards for them to take possession of. They again break the laws and covenant by adoring false gods, making treaties and intermarrying with the surrounding people. They are overrun, killed and taking into exile when ever they break their covenant with God.
After being ruled by judges (amongst the greatest is Samuel), they ask for a king and God allows the anointing of King Saul. He becomes corrupt and dies and is replaced by King David who as a youth killed the giant Goliath. King David is a great leader, but also sins by adultery, murder and taking a census. Nevertheless God forgives and blesses his humility and sorrow for his sins. His son Solomon succeeds him and is a great king till his lust for women has him fall into idolatry. After his death the tribes of Israel are divided and war against each other.
Even though God does not relate to man as when Adam communicated with Him before the fall, God still continued to reveal Himself in other ways. He appeared to Abraham as three men, to Jacob as a man wrestling, to Moses at the burning bush, on Mount Sinai and the Holy of Holies tent. He continued to communicate to Joshua and Samuel. Then we see God communicating through the true prophets, Elias and his disciple Eliseus. The Books of the Prophets are filled with the Word of God being revealed through holy prophets. It is also full of false prophets like we have today who say “all is well, all is well”, when as we can all see, “all is not well”. But they deceive the people to be passive and allow them to go on sinning and practicing false religions.
When Israel is contaminated, as so many times, with false religion and false gods, Elias challenges them to see if sacrificing to their gods will work. When nothing happens, he brings down from heaven fire that consumes his sacrifice soaked with water. He kills all the false prophets. This brings the wrath of Queen Jezabel on him, but God miraculously saves him. We see where he raises dead to life, heals leprosy, brings down fire from heaven many times, stops the rain, and brings it back again. Those against him die and those who help him receive blessings. But nevertheless he suffers plenty for being true to God’s word and laws as we will see with all the true prophets throughout salvation history.
Here is a perfect example what happens with the true prophets and the false prophets. King Josaphat of Juda and King Achab of Israel wonder if they can win at battle with Syria. The false prophets tell them they will be successful. The only true prophet, Micheas, is hated, but consulted. He tells King Achab that he will be killed and the army dispersed to their homes. Micheas is slapped, ridiculed and put in prison with only bread and water. But as prophetcised, King Achab is shot with an arrow and dies with all his men dispersing to their homes. 3 Kings: 22.
Elias is taken up to heaven in a fiery chariot as his prophetic spirit rests on his disciple Eliseus. He also is given the Word of God and miraculous powers. He uses Elias cloak to return the waters of the Jordan River and with salt makes poisonous water pure. After this miracle, 42 boys mocked him. Eliseus curses them and two bears come and kill them. 4 Kings: 21-24. He raises a dead child to life and cleanses the famous Naaman from leprosy. He made an iron ax head rise out of the Jordan river. He forecasted the seven year famine. He forecasted the death of Jezabel. “And thou shalt cut off the house of Achab thy master, and I will revenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the Lord at the hand of Jezabel. … And the dogs shall eat Jezabel in the field of Jezrahel, and there shall be no one to bury her. … And Jehu said to them: Throw her down headlong: and they threw her down and the wall was sprinkled with blood, and the hoofs of the horses trod upon her. And when he was come in, to eat, and to drink, he said: Go, and see after that cursed woman, and bury her: because she is the king’s daughter. And when they went to bury her; they found nothing bur the skull and the feet, and the extremities of her hands. It is the word of the Lord spoke by his servant Elias the Thesbite, saying: In the field of Jezrahel the dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezabel.” 4 Kings 9: 33-36. After Eliseus dies, his relics of bones brings a dead man back to life.
The Books of Kings end after much suffering, defeat and captivity of the Israelites for their evil ways. But when King Ezechias destroys all the altars and groves of the false gods, he is blessed with a long reign and prosperity. This is when the great prophet Isaias begins to speak the Word of God. He even had the sun move back in the sky. He also foretold the Babylonian exile of the Israelites because King Ezechias showed all his treasures to the servants of the king of Babylonia. When the king died, his son reigned and again adored false gods. He was killed and his son ruled. As King Josias was repairing the desecrated temple, he found the books of the law. He again renewed the covenant with the people and sacrificed to the Lord. But the curse of King Manasses still was on him and he died in war. Later Nebuchodonosur destroys Jerusalem and takes the Israelites into the famous captivity in Babylonia.
This recounting of the history of salvation may seem tedious and repetitious, but it has everything to do with today. As in those days, the political leaders and the church leaders were continually straying from the True God and adoring false gods. This came about by their tolerance and intermingling with people of false religions. Then they would eventually fall into these false religions. Today as we see many church leaders praying with other leaders of false religions and there by validating these false religions by saying they are pretty much all the same. And like in those days with the few true prophets, if you say this is wrong, you are demonized and persecuted. You are called intolerant and an extremest.
So as we breeze through the Bible to be re instructed what worked and what failed. We see that true worship of God and obeying His laws brought life, miracles, peace and blessings. We see that worshiping false gods and breaking the laws bring death, devision, wars and curses. We change, people in the Church are trying to change the Church, but God is still the same. God will never change. The God were read about in the Bible is still the same.
The true prophets are ridiculed and persecuted. But their fidelity to God’s word, always proved true. The false prophets had their reward in this life till everything fell apart in wars.
We are called to be true to God’s laws and to adore God in the Holy Sacrifice of the Altar, the Mass of All Ages. This Holy Mass has nothing to do with the idolatry of a man centered religion. It has nothing to do with pleasing man, but is only about pleasing God. Each one of us needs to deeply reflect on how we worship and adore God as traditional Catholics. In what area are we compromising with false religions and false prophets?
“They provoked him by strange gods and stirred him up to anger, with their abominations. They sacrificed to devils and not to God: to gods whom they knew not.” Deut. 32: 16-17.
We are blessed and not cursed, because we have the true Catholic religion and try to love it and live it. Let us pray for each other to be faithful in a time of confusion and apostasy.
The original author of this blog passed away in July of 2016. RIP Father Carota.