Youth New Evangelization & Spiritual Renewal Seminar Series
The Foundations of Faith: Seminar 3


 

God communicates with us

God can communicate with any one of us and at any time through private revelations. The more common way of communication with human race however is through His prophets. One of  the most important prophets among Jewish people was Abraham. He was a righteous man who trusted GOD in all things, so GOD loved him and made a covenant (agreement) with him (Gen.15:1-21). Besides Abraham, throughout the human history there were many other prophets chosen by GOD. He has chosen them according to His need to fulfil His plan of salvation. The second most important Jewish prophet was Moses. With the exception of Moses however, very often prophets were simple, non educated men, sometimes women and even children. As Abraham was an important prophet to Jews, so John the Baptist was important to Christians. However, far the most important revelation of GOD to humanity is through His only "son" - Jesus Christ. Jesus was "The word made flesh". He reveals to us the true nature of GOD and His kingdom through His teachings, parable telling, healings, forgiveness, but also through His warnings. In other words, in Jesus, GOD is making his plan of creation and salvation known through His Divine Revelation.

From the times of Abraham God was revealing Himself to Israelites through prophets. Our sacred scriptures are the product of this revelation. The jewish scriptures which make up the books of the Old Testament were originally passed on from generation to generation as a collection of Aramaic scrolls and eventually written in Hebrew. The gospels of the New Testament were originally written in Greek at about 70 A.D.(Ano Domini - years of our Lord). The BIBLE is a compilation of many sacred scriptures inspired by GOD and written in the span of about 1500 years. The BIBLE of today, was compiled and translated into Latin by St. Jerome in about 404 A.D.



 

The Old vs. New Testament (Covenant)

The OLD TESTAMENT comprises of 46 books accepted by the Church as inspired by GOD.

The TORAH (5 Books of Moses) is the first 5 books in the BIBLE. It is also referred to as the Pentateuch - five containers

1) Genesis
2) Exodus
3) Leviticus
4) Numbers
5) Deuteronomy

They provide the details of the covenant between God and His people - "The Laws of Moses"

The Historical Books

Reveal the history of Israelites and their struggle to live with God's commandments. If they succeeded, God had them live in peace and prosperity. However, once they failed, God punished them with wars and oppression by other nations.

The Wisdom Writings

Teach us the practical ways to live God's law. Most of the wisdom books are written by distinguished and wise men of the times, not by prophets.

The Prophetic Books

God has chosen His messengers among certain individuals to convey His messages to people. Interestingly, almost all ancient prophets do speak of a coming messiah who would rule with righteousness. Today, we know that this messiah is Jesus Christ. We also know, that this rule would not refer to His rule on Earth, but that in the spiritual world.


The NEW TESTAMENT comprises of 27 books. It speaks to us about the works and teachings of Jesus Christ and His apostles.

The Gospels (the Good News)

Teachings and works of Jesus during His public ministry.

The Acts of the Apostles

Describe the works of Jesus' apostles after His crucifixion and the beginnings of the Church.

The Epistles (letters of the apostles)

Comprise of the letters of the apostles to different Church communities. They are based upon the understanding of Jesus' teachings by each individual apostle.

The Book of Revelation

The last book of the New Testament and the Bible. It is based on the prophecy given to John and speaks of the end times before the 2nd coming of Jesus. Today, we live in those times.
 

Cautionary NOTE

While iterpreting the scriptures, it is important to realize the limitations and constrains of individual prophets receiving messages from Heaven. They too were just humans, not GOD. Particularly important is to realize the context within which such message was intended. Thus we have to ask:

In addition, another difficulty arises during Biblical translations. Not all Bibles are equivalent. Sometimes contradictions can be encountered in some editions or translations. For this reason, it is preferable to consider the Bible to be "Inspired by GOD" rather than "The Word of GOD". From my experience, the BIBLE approved by Catholic Bishops tend to be the most reliable and authentic.

Finally, but not less importantly; in His scriptures God heavily uses symbolic stories, symbolic meanings and imagery. Thus BIBLE is NOT to be interpreted literally word by word as regrettably often is done.



 

Later-day prophets and visionaries

Since GOD has always been invisible and mysterious to us, He communicates with us a number of ways. The three main channels of communication are:
 
  1. as we saw earlier, through Scriptures like Jewish scrolls (Bible) and Qu'ran
  2. directly through Prophets
  3. teachings of Jesus Christ
  4. through later-day visionaries and prophets (apparitions of Jesus, Mary and other saints or angels).
  5. private revelations
  6. events in our lives

 
 





Regrettably, to their own demise, some people tried abusing this fact by posing as false prophets. This is not helpful to God's case and will have severe repercussions. During investigations commissioned by the Vatican it was revealed by the Church investigators that only about 60% of claimed apparitions are genuine. However, people would know that the prophet or visionary was genuine because of certain signs accompanying his/her prophesy:
 


During the later Christian era, and especially during the past 200 years, numerous apparitions of Jesus and Mary were documented. Such apparitions have always taken place for a reason. One very important of such apparitions was the apparition of Our Lady in Fatima, Portugal in 1917.
 

Our Lady of Fatima

During her apparitions she asked for the "reparation for the sins of humanity", and for the "devotion to her Immaculate Heart". Throughout her
apparitions three things stood out repeatedly:
 

  •      request for prayers
  •      need for our conversion
  •      need for our sacrifices

  • When asked by the visionary, a 10 years old Lucia to heal some people in the crowd, Mary responded: "some would be cured, others not", and "If they would be converted, they would be healed". She also said: "It is necessary to ammend our lives and ask pardon for our sins". She concluded her apparitions with the statement: "Offend Our Lord GOD no more, for He is already much offended".

    Now, does this sound like GOD is happy with us, christians? Do you think we would all be saved?

    As far as the timing of the apparitions of our Lady, and the miracle of the sun in Fatima, they are not coincidental. The miracle took place on October 13th, 1917. The Russian "Great October Revolution" culminated on October 25th, 1917 when Bolshevics stormed governmental buildings in several Russian cities and the Winter Palace in St. Petersburg.
     


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