The Forgotten Intercession

‘Intercession’ is one of the apostolic Church practices that is often misinterpreted by most of the places of Christian worship not built the foundation of the prophets and apostles. This is a result of the lack of sound doctrinal teaching of the Roman Church of the middle ages.

At that time, many became totally disillusioned with their Church and some broke away forming the beginnings of what we now call the “Protestants”. An unfortunate side effect was that many apostolic teachings and practices were mistaken for the man made traditions of the corrupted Church of Rome.

Many of these early Protestants, in their zealousness to return to the true faith, began removing anything they perceived to be introduced by Rome, but without the knowledge of which was which as Rome had gone to great lengths to hide the corruption they had introduced.

Today little has changed, modern Christianity still perceives this as a Roman practice and in the same animosity towards Rome, most are unwilling to even consider the facts of this apostolic tradition that both predates the Church of Rome and was part of the original faith of all the Church not just that located in what we today call Italy.

To most, ‘intercession’ is when a person or persons pray for another, they do this in accordance with scriptures such as these.

“But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you,” Matthew 5:44

“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” James 5:16

However much this is true, there is much more to ‘intercession’ than simply those on earth praying for each other and it is that, which has been rejected. ‘Intercession’ to the original Church includes the prayers of those who have departed from their physical life and includes the Angels who so diligently serve the Lord.

It is often argued against, based on the scriptures.

“For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;” 1 Timothy 2:5

“But now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.” Hebrews 8:6

“But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.” Hebrews 9:15

“My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:” 1 John 2:1

However, this argument against the intercession of the departed and of the angels has no real bearing as these scriptures refer to the mediation over sin in relation to the new covenant. On this, there is only one mediator between humanity and God the Father in heaven and that is Jesus Christ as He died for the atonement of our sins.

In Hebrews 9:15 it is explained that Christ is the mediator for the redemption of transgressions under the new covenant. Notice the line “And if man sin,” in 1 John 2:1, where it says it is through the blood of Christ that atonement was achieved for those of His Body, the true Church. In this, He is the only mediator.

In the scripture 1 Timothy 2:5 we read, “one mediator between God and men”. Again, this demonstrates he is the only mediator over sin as He paid the price of death on our behalf. On the subject of redemption of sin, it is unquestionable that Jesus Christ is the only mediator between humanity and God the Father, however there is no suggestion that one should not intercede on another’s behalf to Christ Himself to mediate to our Father in heaven on someone else’s behalf. Especially, if they are outside of the Church, that is the Body of Christ.

It also should be remembered that if “intercession” through prayer, is in fact mediation, and we have only one mediator then we should never pray for one another. This completely conflicts with the many scriptures, which instruct us that we should pray for each other. There are examples of interceding to Christ in the scriptures such as 1 John. 5:14-17

“And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us: 15And if we know that he hear us, whatsoever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we desired of him. 16If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it. 17All unrighteousness is sin: and there is a sin not unto death.” 1 John 5:14

As this letter was written after Christ’s ascension to heaven, John must have been referring to “intercession” to Christ on behalf of another.

In Paul’s second epistle to the Thessalonians, we read of his intercessory prayers for those of the true Church.

“Wherefore also we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling, and fulfil all the good pleasure of his goodness, and the work of faith with power:” 2 Thessalonians 1:11

There are also many other reasons other than mediation over sin why we may intercede on someone else’s behalf such as a request for knowledge, wisdom and spiritual understanding.

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” Colossians 1:9

Health is another reason we might intercede for each other.

“Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.” James 5:14

It is also quite appropriate for someone to request that we pray for them, as the Apostle Paul shows us by his example.

“Brethren, pray for us.” 1 Thessalonians 5:25

This request is repeated many times throughout the Bible and if it were correct for these Holy people to ask the Church to pray for them, why would it be wrong for members of the church to make the same request in return.

We should also ask why so many assume that intercession is limited to those who are still alive in the flesh sense. The ‘Word’ tells us that they that have departed from the earth are alive with Christ.

“We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 5:8

The following ‘Words’ of Christ demonstrate that those that have departed are fully aware of their surroundings, capable of communicating to one another and have conscious knowledge of their family and friends remaining on earth.

“There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores, 21And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. 22And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; 23And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. 24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame. 25But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented. 26And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence. 27Then he said, I pray thee therefore, father, that thou wouldest send him to my father’s house: 28For I have five brethren; that he may testify unto them, lest they also come into this place of torment. 29Abraham saith unto him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. 30And he said, Nay, father Abraham: but if one went unto them from the dead, they will repent. 31And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Luke 16:19-31

Perhaps the opponents of requesting intercession of the departed saints believe that they are unaware of our condition because they are in the spiritual realm. The scriptures show however that they are, as in the story of Lazarus and the rich man.

“But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” Luke 16:25

Abraham demonstrates he was aware that the rich man had good things while Lazarus did not, by this we know that those who have departed do know our condition here on earth.

Another clear example that those in the spiritual realm are aware of what we do and say is the following.

“I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” Luke 15:7

One argument, which the opponents of this sound apostolic doctrine, use is that we should always pray directly to God and not ask intercession of those who have died. This reveals their great lack of faith, for if they had faith they would know that they who have departed are in fact alive, it is only their flesh that has fallen “asleep”. Remember that God is not the God of the dead but of the living.

“But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” Matthew 22:31-32

As the departed are still living there is no reason as to why we should not request their prayers, in fact, we are instructed to pray for one another by the ‘Word’.

Consider also, if it is right to seek prayer from those not yet departed and are still facing the trials of physical life then why should we not request prayer from those who have succeeded in their desire to join the Lord in heaven. It would be ridiculous to suggest that the Lord would think less of the prayers of those whom He has blessed with eternal salvation than with those who have yet to reach heaven. If we look at the following scripture, we see an example of the Lord’s mercy and compassion for the sake of someone He loves, in this case His servant David.

“Howbeit I will not take the whole kingdom out of his hand: but I will make him prince all the days of his life for David my servant’s sake, whom I chose, because he kept my commandments and my statutes:” 1 Kings 11:34

As the Lord granted favors to others on behalf of David why is it so inconceivable to accept that He may grant favors for all who have pleased Him. An example would be John the Baptist as it was of this man that Christ said no holier was ever born. As John is present with the Lord, and is aware of our requests and problems, what sin is there in asking him to pray for us, in fact the bible tells us to pray for one another, it makes no distinction between those alive in the flesh and those departed. If we should accept that it is acceptable to ask others to pray for us while they are alive on earth, why not those alive in heaven.

This then extends to all who God loves, consider what He would do for his mother, the Virgin Mary if she was to pray for us. There are also the apostles and the martyrs who have found favor with the Lord, why should we not ask them to pray for us and why deprive them of even more blessings in heaven on account of the love they would have for us should they consent.

Those that oppose this Christian practice have missed a vital lesson in the scriptures. The Lord does not need to be told of our requests or problems, He does not require that we remind or inform Him of our needs. God wants us to pray for each other out of love for our fellow man, whether alive in the flesh or alive in the spiritual. The only difference is that when we request prayer from the departed, we affirm our faith in the Lord’s promise of eternal life, to deny they are alive would be to call the Lord Himself a liar.

Those that deny that we can seek “intercession” from the departed show they do not have faith that the departed are still alive. They cannot accept what their carnal minds cannot understand, relying on their own abilities to rationalize the message of the written ‘Word’, rather than put faith in God. They have no or little faith in the scripture,

“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

It is in this sense, that the Church, that is the Body and Bride of Christ address the departed saints when they ask for their intercession to Christ.

“For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding;” Colossians 1:9

The apostle here states “we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you”. He did not say we “will pray for you until we depart from the earth”. The saints, who have departed and are in the presence of God still pray for those of the Church and always will.

The final points I shall make in regards to this is that it is not praying to the dead, as the opponents of this truth would suggest.

Firstly, those in Christ are not “dead”, but alive and well, present with the Lord. It is only their flesh, which is asleep, awaiting the Lord’s return and the resurrection.

Secondly, it is not “prayer” as we would pray to God, it is merely speaking to someone who may not be here with us in the flesh, but is still fully aware of us, and our needs, as Abraham was fully aware of the circumstances of Lazarus.

This is not to be confused with witchcraft where are person may seek guidance from a familiar spirit which is undoubtedly sin, it is merely speaking to those present with God and asking them to pray on yours or another’s behalf, this is not only a Christian principle, but a declaration of faith in life beyond the mortal flesh.

Lastly, I am not suggesting this to be an essential practice of the Christian faith, only an option, just as it is an option of whom we ask prayer from amongst those who are present with us.

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