Today, we will continue with our response to Dave Armstrong and his book, “The Catholic Verses,” in which the Catholic apologist presents ninety-five Bible verses or passages that allegedly validate Catholicism and are claimed to “confound” Protestants.
This week, we will continue with our examination of chapter ten of Armstrong’s book that we began two weeks ago, in which the Catholic apologist presents passages that allegedly support veneration/worship of “saints.” Armstrong presents the five passages below as proof texts for his claim that saints in Heaven intercede for people on earth. I’ve used hyperlinks for the last two passages because I think you’ll agree they aren’t germaine to Armstrong’s assertions.
#81) Revelation 5:8: “And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and with golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.”
#82) Revelation 6:9-10: “9 When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne; 10 they cried out with a loud voice, ‘O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?’”
#83) Revelation 8:3-4: “3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer; and he was given much incense to mingle with the prayers of all the saints upon the golden altar before the throne; 4 and the smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God.”
#84) Matthew 17:1-3
#85) Matthew 27:52-53
Beneath these passage Armstrong writes, “Catholics believe that saints and angels in heaven can pray for us on earth and can hear our intercessory requests, just as people on earth can do; in fact, because the saints are so near to God’s presence in Heaven, their prayers are more powerful than ours on earth.” – p. 139.
Revelation 5:8 mentions the elders in heaven with “golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” This is an allusion to the practices of the priests of the Old Testament who burned incense in the tabernacle and temple to symbolize the prayers of God’s people. The OT Israelites did not pray TO the priests and neither do Christians pray TO the alleged “saints.”
Revelation 6:9-10 only describes the Christian martyrs in heaven who cry out to the Lord for justice for their murder back on Earth.
Revelation 8:3-4 describes circumstances similar to Revelation 5:8. With the two passages from Matthew, Armstrong is simply grasping at straws to prove his case. The passages do not have the slightest connection to his argument.
The five passages presented here by Armstrong do NOT demonstrate his claim for the prayerful intercession of saints, not even in the slightest. In contrast to Armstrong’s torturous, forcing-a-square-peg-through-a-round-hole eisegesis, nowhere in Scripture can we find an example of a believer praying to anyone other than God. Armstrong and his fellow Catholic apologist are well aware of this fact and so they must resort to painfully twisted misinterpretations.