Artifacts & Biblical History

My Thoughts While Waiting In Line for Confession

by Steve Ray on September 2, 2018

190771.image0My wife and I went to confession yesterday. The line was pretty long (which was good to see, though I hate lines :-)  As I sat and waited it struck me again that the Church is not just a loose association of like-minded followers of Jesus. It is not just “Jesus and me” as we believed when we were Evangelical Protestants.

We had a dinner scheduled afterward with an Evangelical who would hold confession with disdain. “All we need to do is confess to Jesus himself, not a priest.” Why would they think that way? Because of a fundamental difference in perspective on what the Church is. Is the Church an invisible association of lovers of Jesus or is it a familial organization with a government?

Jesus said, “I will build my Church (not churches)” and later says, “If your brother sins…take it to the Church.” (Matt 16:18; 18:15, 17). Jesus also gives the authority men to forgive or retain sins (Jn 20:23). If the words of Jesus mean anything, there must be an authority in the Church and it needs to be worldwide and we need to know where to find it. If a Baptist brother sins against a Methodist brother, where is the church with authority that can deal with the issue? There is no such mechanism among Protestants.

Pentecost-lgThere were 120 people in the Upper Room and that is significant because in Jewish society it was necessary to have 120 people to leave the larger community (city) to start their own community with courts, judges, binding and loosing. Even the Israeli Knesset today has 120 members. The Church IS that new community. The Greek word for “church” in the New Testament is ecclesia which means the “called out ones.”

Called out for what? To be a new society, a new city, a new community, a new kingdom. The Church is the new Israel, so we would expect it to be similar in structure and authority. This “Church” would necessarily have laws and rules, the authority to legislate and to adjudicate. In short, using the biblical terms, the authority to “bind and loose.”

Vatican-II-Inside-St-Peter-s-C-David-LeesThis government, this Church, this family was never promised perfect sinless leaders. That has been proven in spades throughout history and in vivid color this summer. But just because there are rogues who often infiltrate the leadership does not negate the truth of this one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church.

Even Jesus had a Judas in his small band. We don’t leave Jesus and Peter because of Judas. If it can last for 2,000 years with every conceivable onslaught having thrown at it–and it still exists around the world bringing us the grace and forgiveness of God, laws and courts, beauty and worship–it is obvious that it is not from man but from God.

Sitting in the line for confession I realized that by virtue of my being there, I was acknowledging that I am part of something bigger than just “me and Jesus.” I was part of the governmental entity that was started in the Upper Room and continues today. I am accountable to Jesus, yes. But he is building a Church and I am a member of this new visible kingdom. My going to confession is a clear statement of that fact and of my submission to and recognition of that kingdom’s authority.

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Cut off His Head! John the Baptist

by Steve Ray on August 29, 2018

 Beheading of John the Baptist
August 29


A98FFCE0-DE6B-4263-983C-5725A406AFA4-2688-000004140EC29279_tmpHe was the last of the Old Testament prophets and the first of the New. He was the first to proclaim the news that Jesus was the Messiah, the Lamb of God. He was 100% from the lineage of Aaron the High Priest. He is the prophesied “Elijah who is to come” in the last verses of the prophets in the Old Testament (Malachi 4:5-6).

Where was he born and what do we know about him?
He was born in Ein Kerem west of Jerusalem. Prior to birth he was sanctified in the womb by the Holy Spirit when the Blessed Virgin Mary arrived for the Visitation. He later left for the wilderness where he probably associated with the Essenes at Qumran. Jesus probably met him in the Wilderness. He ate locusts and wild honey so he was a manly man!

The_Beheading_of_Saint_John-Caravaggio_1608What sources do we have outside the Bible?
The Jewish historian Josephus tells us about John, especially his death which took place in Herod’s Fortress of Machareus on the east side of the Dead Sea in the modern country of Jordan. It is from Josephus that we learn the name of Herodias’ daughter – Salome.

Where are the bones of John the Baptist today?
They were placed in a Church in Sebaste in Samaria. in the late 300’s Emperor Julian the Apostate tried to descrate the bone but clever monks whisked them away to the Monastery of St. Macarius in the deserts of western Egypt. Here is a picture of Janet and I at that location when we filmed our documentary Elijah and Elisha.

To learn more about John, see my DVD Jesus, the Word Became Flesh and our latest DVD Elijah and Elisha. We go to the very site he was beheaded in the first and the to site of his bones in the second. All filmed on location.  Click here.

Below: The remains of Herod’s Fortress of Machaerus where John was beheaded and what it looked like at the time of Christ. Also Janet and I at the bones of John the Baptist.

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Last Days of Sts. Peter and Paul in Rome

by Steve Ray on June 29, 2018

crucifixion-of-saint-peter-1601Happy Feast Day of Sts. Peter and Paul….

When I take my pilgrims to Rome one of my main objectives is to introduce them to the saints – especially Peter and Paul. We meditate on the last days of the lives, imprisonments, martyrdoms and burials of these two Princes of the Apostles: Peter and Paul. Both of them shed their blood in Rome for Jesus and the Church.

Peter was crucified upside down in Nero’s Circus. We still know the exact spot at the Vatican and the obelisk in the center of St. Peter’s Square witnessed the gory ritual).

(See my documentaries of Peter and Paul all filmed on location here.)

PaulPaul was beheaded on the Ostian Way (I show you the exact spot and the pillar on which his neck was placed).

I love to take pilgrimages to emphasize the utter truth and historicity of Scripture and the tradition of the Catholic Church.

We have a lot to learn and be proud of as Catholics and knowing our history and the price paid by the first Christians is a great starting point.

Enjoy!

STEVE EXPLAINS THE PRISON OF STS. PETER AND PAUL

THE LAST DAYS AND MARTYRDOMS OF STS. PETER AND PAUL ON LOCATION

 

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Bloody Martyrdoms in Lyons – Feast Day of St. Irenaeus

June 28, 2018

In honor of the feast day of St. Irenaeus today I have reposted a blog from several years ago when we were filming our documentary on Apostolic Fathers, Handing on the Faith. Here is the story… “We finished getting all our work done in Lyon for St. Irenaeus. It was very cold and windy — with snow hampering […]

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The Pain of Stolen Honey – John the Baptist was a Manly Man who Teaches us Many Things

June 24, 2018

A painful price is paid when one reaches his hand into a swarm of bees to swipe some of their honey. Stingers fly and welts flare. I raised hives of bees as a boy and once I was stung 35 times in one day. Wild honey is not collected from wild bees without burning pain […]

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Jesus Was A Jew – So What is That To You?

June 20, 2018

Jesus was a Jew… This fact may escape the casual reader of the New Testament, but it is crucial to understanding Jesus and the book written about him—the Bible. Unhappily, in 21st century America we are far removed from the land of Israel and the ancient culture and religion of Judaism followed by Jesus and […]

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“Where Does the Bible Say We Should Pray to Dead Saints?” – Resources about Communion of the Saints

June 15, 2018

I compiled a list of Catechism, Scripture and quotes from the early Church Fathers and even archaeology to assist in understanding the Communion of Saints. You can download the source material here. Sample: Who should carry the most weight—Protestant pastors protesting Catholic theology today or pastors from the early Church who have the words of […]

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History of the Bible Chart

May 21, 2018

For a larger image on PDF which you can see better, click here. Two items I consider errors: 1) The Gospel of John was not considered spurious, and 2) there was no such things a “The Jewish Council of Javneh (or Jamnia)”. This is a fallacy as I wrote about here. Just so you know, […]

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Dear Protestant: Where Did You Get Your Bible?

May 20, 2018

From Little Catholic Bubble website Leila@LittleCatholicBubble Dear Protestant: Where did you get your New Testament? At least a couple of times every week, Protestants use New Testament verses to show me where the Catholic Church is wrong about something. I always make them take the necessary step back by asking the following: “Where did you get your […]

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The Technology of Scripture Study: The Middle Ages (and a hilarious video at the end)

April 16, 2018

“I am an ecclesiastical historian by training and a Bible software guy by trade. Which, I think, puts me in the unique position to write about the history of the intersection of technology and Scripture study in a series of posts.” Written by my friend Andrew Jones PhD: “We might start with a description of […]

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Stones Cry Out: Does Archaeology Support the Bible?

April 5, 2018

This was a recent interview I did with Tim Staples. It was published in the Catholic Answers Magazine. Are we sure the Bible is true? Does archaeology help us know? Enjoy! Click here for the article.

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People at the Foot of the Cross

March 21, 2018

I will only have this up until the end of today and will post it again next week on Wednesday. I did this show with Teresa Tomeo this morning and promised the document for those interested after the show. Click HERE for the PDF document. Click HERE to listen to the show which starts at 12 […]

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Joseph the Sissy or Joseph the Worker – Feast Day of the Worker

March 19, 2018

Today is the Feast day of St. Joseph the Worker! There are some pictures of Joseph I don’t appreciate so much. They present him almost as soft, effeminate like he just came out of a beauty parlor. It appears he never worked in the real world and has not a wrinkle on his clothes or […]

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Major biblical discovery: Archaeologists may have found the Prophet Isaiah’s ‘signature’

February 23, 2018

 By James Rogers | Fox News The seal mark discovered in Jerusalem (Eilat Mazar/Biblical Archaeological Society) Archaeologists in Israel say that they have found a clay seal mark that may bear the signature of the Biblical Prophet Isaiah. The 2,700-year-old stamped clay artifact was found during an excavation at the foot of the southern wall […]

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History of Middle East in 90 Seconds

February 11, 2018

Fascinating moving map. Click the image below to see biblical and modern history of the volatile and ever-changing Middle East.

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5,000 Years of Religion in 90 Seconds

February 4, 2018

Another very cool interactive map takes you through the the many religions and centuries. Watch how Christianity spreads at the very end. Click on the image to the right.

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