Catholic Christendom is founded on, what all other Catholic beliefs and practices are founded on, the whole Holy Bible, (the Old and the New Testament), and tradition. Our faith is based is not only on what Jesus taught and did in the New Testament, but also on what came before Him and led up to His coming, the Old Testament.
But we Catholics hold the 4 Gospels, (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), in the highest regards when it come to understanding Christianity. This is because only in the Gospels do we find the actual words that Jesus said. They also contain everything else He taught and did in His 3 years of public ministry.
Then comes the Acts of the Apostles, epistles of the apostles and the Book of Revelation. And finally comes the Old Testament. In this part of the Bible we find these historical facts;
- How God created man and woman and everything else.
- The rebellion and fall of Eve and Adam.
- The flood and Noah.
- Abraham’s call to be the father of God’s people.
- The miraculous conception of Isaac.
- Jacob and his 12 sons that form the 12 tribes of Israel,
- Joseph sold into Egypt.
- Jacob and his other 11 sons moving to Egypt.
- Moses’ liberation of Israel from slavery in Egypt through God’s plagues.
- The 40 years in the desert.
- Joshua miraculous entering into the promise land without any war.
- The great priests prophets, and judges, Eli and Samuel.
- King Saul, King David, King Solomon.
- The exile into Babylonia.
- The writing and teaching of the prophets.
- The liberation of Israel by the Machabees brothers.
In the Old Testament we see God making a covenant with the Patriarch Abraham by circumcision of the first born male and the sacrifices of animals. God promised to multiply his descendants to be as numerous as the stars of the sky. He will be their God, and they will be His people. God chooses only men to lead and only men are marked with the sign of the covenant, circumcision.Abraham obeyed God and was willing to sacrifice his only son Isaac.
Then we see God leading his people through Moses. He is chosen by God to be the intermediator between God and HIs people. God reveals His divine laws through him and demands that the Israelites obey them. If they obey God’s loving laws, they receive God’s protection and blessings. When they disobey God’s law, they were cursed or killed. These laws also came with instructions on what punishment was to be applied to anyone who broke them, including death. From this is where the idea of capital punishment comes from.
God also revealed specific, exact laws on all their religious practices too. On what tribe priests would come from, how rites and sacrifices were to be made, keeping holy the Sabbath, what vestments were to be worn, how the priests and people had to purify themselves before praying and exactly what objects He wanted to be used in these Jewish rituals.
His laws were also very demanding on morals, like homosexual sex, stealing, adultery, lepers, abusing the poor and aliens. When these laws were broken, He punished them by either fire, earthquakes or snakes. Moses also was ordered by God to punish them by slaughtering them when they adored the golden calf. It is clear in the Old Testament that God’s law are not to be broken, and if they are there are severe consequences.
Finally Joshua leads the Israelites into the Promised Land, a country filled with cities, buildings and vineyards that God gives them without any battles. They are given other peoples buildings or orchards and vineyards with out every having to build them or plant them. The Promised Land is a prefigurement of Christendom or what I will call a ‘Theodom’.
At the beginning living in the Promise Land, God continues to lead and punish His people through His chosen priests, prophets and judges. Samuel is one of the greatest and holy ones. God always would correct His people by raising up a prophet to guide them.
Then the people cry out to God to give them a king to rule them like all the other tribes around them. He warns them of the taxes, wars, their giving of their young men as warriors and their women as cooks and all the other cost that it will cause them. Nevertheless, He concedes to their wishes and this is where, you could say, when Theocracy began.
God is the true King, and the kings of Israel were only to be His ministers. But the kings often forgot this and disobeyed God. King Saul was hand picked by God, yet he turns evil and tries to kill David, besides breaking other laws set down by God.
King David is a king after God’s own heart. Yet he too sins gravely and is punished for it. But God forgives him and gives him a promise that his kingship would last forever. That was the hope of Israel, that a King, Messiah and Prophet would come from the descendants of King David who would liberate them from all the oppressors and heal all their wounds.
His son, King Solomon, is greatly endowed with gifts from God. With his fathers materials, silver and gold, he builds two things, the Great Temple for God and a palace for him as king in Jerusalem. (We see here the two parts of Theocracy, God first, the king second). He is a great king, judge and disciplinarian. Yet he falls because of his lust for women, which cause him to allow his pagan concubines to practice and teach to the Israelites their evil false religions. Because of this, the Theocracy is divided. Queen of Saba amazed by the wisdom of King Solomon
Later on, because of the continual breaking of God’s law by worshiping and sacrificing to false gods, the Israelites are taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Theocracy is completely destroyed because of the Israelites worshiping of false gods. They reaped what they had sown.
The Machabees brothers begin to battle to free Israel from forced pagan worship and the covering over of their circumcision, the mark of the covenant. They again enforced God’s laws and they were blessed.
Then in the fulness of time, God in His love and mercy, sent His only Begotten Son, Jesus to be the King Messiah He had promised them.
He has raised up for us a mighty Savior,
Born of the house of His servant David.
Through His holy prophets He promised of old
That He would save us from our enemies,
From the hands of all who hate us. Canticle of Zachariah.
We are so blessed to be traditional Catholics and to know the constant love and concern God has shown on His people, the Israelites before, and now on us, the Catholics, through Jesus Christ Our King.