Too many times we focus more on our differences than on our similarities. Too many times we focus more on the different denominations and whose doctrine is in keeping with the Bible than on Christ. One night instead of having a discussion, on who God is, what He is like, what He has done in our lives and on Jesus’ ministry here on earth, I brought up the subject of the idolatry of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Mariology is a phenomenon that really troubles me and I cannot help but address it.
I showed them the book written by a former Catholic entitled, “Is Mary Dead or Alive?” One person glanced at it and thrust it aside dismissively while another picked it up to browse through it. I mentioned that people should not be praying to Mary. After some discussion and disagreements, we established that people were praying to someone who is dead. I tried to find in the Bible where it is mentioned that we should not be speaking or contacting the dead but, couldn’t find it so I was unable to make the point. However, I found it the day after and here is what the Bible says, “And when they say unto you, ‘Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter.’ Should a people not seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living?” – Isaiah 8:19.
I spoke of the appearances around the world and made it known that I did not believe in any of them simply because Mary is dead. I mentioned that when Jesus appeared to His disciples, He was in the flesh. Here is an excerpt of what was written about the three children in Fatima. The shepherd children saw the vision of an angel of peace whose mission was to prepare them for the Coming of the Virgin Mary three times. For each Apparition, the angel invited the children to pray and accompanied them in their reverence. During the summer, the angel appeared a second time to the children who were playing and urged them to pray “Constantly offer prayers and sacrifices to the Most High”. He presented himself as the guardian angel of Portugal.
The Coming of the Virgin Mary? Mary is no longer among the living. She like the rest of those who died in Christ will be resurrected at His second Coming and caught up. In the Bible, the angels’ will appear with Christ at His Second Coming. “The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness and will cast them into the furnace of fire.” – Matthew 13:41, 42.
This angel invited the children to pray for each apparition. He is praying with them for the appearance of a spirit. Man, according to the Bible, is lower than the angels, yet here was one encouraging the worship of Mary, a person. She is the mother of Jesus, not the mother of God, therefore, not to be worshipped but respected as the most blessed of all women. Reverence should be given to God, “Serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.” – Hebrews 12:28. Reverence should be given to Jesus. “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in Heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” – Philippians 2:9-11.
What sacrifices is the angel talking about here? In Daniel 9:27, it says that Jesus brought an end to sacrifice and offering. The only sacrifices we are exhorted to offer up are spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5).
The following is an account of the last of six appearances of Maria in Fatima. On 13th October 1917, the day of the last Apparition, it poured with rain on the Cova da Iria. Lucy asked the faithful to close their umbrellas to recite the rosary together and observe the arrival of the Holy Virgin. The Virgin Mary presented herself to Lucy as Our Lady of the Rosary and asked her to build a chapel in her honour. She announced that the war was going to end and asked Lucy to “heal several of the sick and convert sinners”.
The Virgin Mary then raised her eyes to heaven, the rain stopped and the sun shone brightly, radiating different coloured beams of lights. The crowd cried out in terror but after a few moments, everything returned to normal. The Virgin Mary then disappeared into the firmament, reappeared a few moments later, under the amazed eyes of 3 shepherd children, accompanied by Saint Joseph, the Infant Jesus and Our Lord blessing the world using the sign of the cross.
What disturbs me about this is that Jesus is seen here as an infant. When we last read about our Saviour, He had risen from the dead and after spending time with His disciples, He ascended to Heaven. Yet, in this vision, He is an infant again. In Italy, the majority of the paintings and sculptures are of Mary and baby Jesus. It is not the infant whom died on the Cross for us but the Man. It is not Jesus, the infant that is going to crush Satan’s head but Jesus, the Man. And why is Joseph in the vision? Joseph is resting in his grave. And why did Mary disappear into the ground and then reappear again?
This vision is going back to before Jesus’ ministry, His finished work on the Cross, His death and His resurrection. The very things Satan tried to hinder when first he tried to have the infant killed, then, the temptation in the wilderness, and the rejection of the people, the crucifixion and finally, the resurrection when the Pharisees had the tomb guarded. The things said in the vision contradict the Bible. And we know that the devil likes to contradict God’s Word—twist it to suit his purposes. That is why in the case of Fatima, caution should be exercised because the devil is good at disguising himself.
Paul warns us, “For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” – 2 Corinthians 11:14, 15. This was met with the objection that God would not allow children to be deceived. The Bible addresses this, “And he (the beast) was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months. It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation. All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” – Revelation 13:5, 7, 8)
Genesis 3:15, says that Satan will enjoy limited success. The Bible does not say that only adults will be deceived. It says that the inhabiters of the earth are subject to the wrath of the devil who knows that he has a short time (Revelation 12:12). The devil is no respecter of persons when it comes to leading them away from God. He deceived the angels. And Jesus predicted that if possible even the elect could be deceived by false Christs and false prophets (Mark 13:22).
We should be focusing on Jesus rather than on the different churches, but when people are being deceived it is hard not to say anything. This is why the Bible was written. It warns us of the devil’s schemes and how we can protect ourselves. Jesus came into the world to wake us from spiritual darkness and His parting words to the disciples were, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” – Matthew 28:19, 20.
When these disciples had God’s truth in them they didn’t keep it to themselves, they shared it, knowing that they would encounter resistance, ridicule, and scepticism. Jesus came to expose the lies of the devil and we should do the same by sharing God’s word, which is truth. We should focus on the Word of God because the scriptures testify of Jesus. “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” – John 14:6.