Apologetics for the Masses - Issue #10

Bible Christian Society

General Comments

Well, I never heard back from Karen (see Issue #9), so, in this newsletter, I’m just going to put out there a couple of questions that I’ve received from Catholics along with the answers I gave them to those questions. This is a bit different from the standard newsletter, but I told you that some of these would be on their way to you. In fact, the next 2 or 3 issues may follow this same format.


You have probably encountered this first question in one form or another. You may not have ever been asked the second question before, but I thought you might be interested in it.

As always, please feel free to forward this to anyone and everyone in your email lists. And, please feel free to print it out and copy it to give to others.

One more thing, if you’re new to the newsletter, all the previous issues are archived on the “Newsletter” page of the website (www.biblechristiansociety.com), for you to read at your convenience.


First Question:

I began taking a Catholic Bible Study course a few weeks ago…The teacher has degrees in Divinity and Theology…He says that the Bible cannot be taken “literally”…I understand that, am open to that and believe that…however,
I was of the mind that the New Testament was true as written…he used the miracle of the loaves and fishes to challenge us as to whether we thought this “actually” happened or…if the five thousand men listening to Jesus preach were moved to share the food that they had been hoarding…I left there (and my small group of 5 others) feeling upset, confused,and a bit sad…we began to question whether the water became wine at Cana and if all other miracles can be dismissed as well…what are your thoughts on this and what should we do at our next class?



Dear Donna,

First of all, please feel free to tell your teacher that I said he/she is an idiot. Second, if you paid money for this course, ask for a refund. Third, tell your teacher that the official teaching of the Catholic Church, as found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC), is that Catholics are to take the Bible literally. CCC #115: "According to an ancient tradition, one can distinguish between two senses of Scripture: the literal and the spiritual… CCC #116: “The literal sense is the meaning conveyed by the words of Scripture and discovered by exegesis, following the rules of sound interpretation: ‘All other senses of Sacred Scripture are based on the literal.’”

Fourth, say to your teacher that since this is a “Catholic” bible study, you would like for him to give you the official documents of the Catholic Church that teach what he was teaching. He won’t be able to do it because that is not what the Church teaches.

Fifth, tell him that he obviously is not reading the passage on the loaves and the fishes in context. If the “miracle” was that Jesus got everyone to “share” their hidden food that they had been hoarding, then why would they want to make him king because of that (John 6:11-15)? I can just imagine one of the Jews yelling, “Hey, he got us to share our food, let’s make him king!” And all the other Jews shouting, “Yeah! He got us to share, let’s make him king!!!!” Oh, please…

Also, if they were hoarding this food, why does it say that they filled twelve baskets with fragments from the “five barley loaves?” And please ask your teacher to give one historical document as evidence to support his interpretation of events…just one. We have an historical document, the Bible…it says what it says. It would make sense that one would need to rely on some other historical document, which gives a different account of events, in order to reach the conclusion that it didn’t happen the way the Bible relates it.

But, your teacher has no such historical document. Nor does he have a document from the official teachings of the Church that says what he’s saying. What your teacher has is a loss of faith. He does not believe in miracles. He obviously does not believe in the divinity of Christ. He obviously does not believe in the Eucharist. And, in order to make himself feel better about his lack of faith, he wants you to lose your faith, too. Kind of like the kids who do bad things, they want other kids to do bad things with them…it kind of helps them to justify and rationalize what they’re doing.

Sixth, go back to my website and click on the “Booklets” page. Print off the booklet entitled “Catholics and the Bible,” and read some of the quotes that I have there from official Church documents. Also, order the tape/CD entitled “Catholics and the Bible.” You might want to order one for everyone in your class, including your teacher.

Seventh, tell your teacher that I challenge him/her to a public debate on the “literal” nature of Scripture. Eighth, go to www.catholicscripturestudy.com and sign up for one of their Bible studies. You won’t get any of the garbage from them that you got from this other anti-Catholic, anti-Christian Bible study. Ninth, the events of the New Testament really did happen. And, tenth, tell your teacher he needs to seriously consider the words of Scripture about those who teach error and lead others astray.

Hope that helps.

God bless!

John Martignoni

2nd Question

Dear John: I am a Deacon in the Archdiocese of _____. Admittedly my strong suit is not in prophesy. I found your lecture on the “Rapture” very insightful. However I am getting some flack over the concept of “one resurection”. My opponents cite Revelation 20 pointing out that it says “first resurection” which implies more than one. Plus “the rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over”. Please advise.

God Bless,

Deacon Tom

Dear Deacon Tom,

There are indeed two resurrections, just as there are two deaths (Rev 20:14). First, let’s address the two deaths: 1) The first death is the death of the body, which we all know about and are familiar with; 2) The 2nd death is obviously the death of the soul, for eternity, in hell (the lake of fire)…again, we see this in Rev 20:14. So, two deaths: one of the body and one of the soul.

Now, regarding the 2 resurrections. If we have two deaths, one of the body and one of the soul, then, to be consistent, the two resurrections must be one of the body and one of the soul. The resurrection that most folks are familiar with is actually the 2nd resurrection…the resurrection of the body. This will occur at the 2nd coming of Christ at the end of time.

As you stated, Rev. 20 mentions the first resurrection…this is the resurrection of the soul. We can see this from scripture itself. First, Rev 20:4 says that John saw the “souls” of these particular folks. Then it says they (the souls) came to life and reigned with Christ and that this is the first resurrection. How does someone’s soul “come to life?” The soul doesn’t die when the body dies, so how does a soul come to life? A soul comes to life, when it puts on Christ. When it goes from darkness to light.

Also, it goes on to say here that those who share in the first resurrection, “Over such the second death has no power.” Now, just a few verses later in Rev 20, John mentions the 2nd death. And, who is it over which the second death has no power? Well, verse 15 tells us that those whose name was written in the Book of Life, avoid the 2nd death. So, what is the first resurrection? It is the moment our names are written into the book of life. The moment our souls are taken out of darkness and brought into the light of Christ. It is the moment of our salvation. For Catholics, the 1st resurrection would be the moment of baptism. For most Protestants, the 1st resurrection would be the moment they accepted Christ into their hearts as their personal Lord and Savior. Either way, the first resurrection is NOT a physical resurrection, it is the resurrection of the soul.

Now, regarding the 1000 years. You need to understand that the language in this passage, as in a lot of the Book of Revelation is figurative. It is not historical narrative. It is more akin to poetry. You cannot take it in a literalist manner. Keep in mind the phrase, “It’s raining cats and dogs.” Does that mean cats and dogs are falling from the sky like rain? No, of course not. That’s the principle to keep in mind when reading Revelation…there is something behind the words.

St. Augustine believed that the one thousand years represent the period of time between Christ’s Incarnation up until just before His return at the 2nd coming. In other words, the “one thousand years” is not an exact timeframe, it is simply representative of the period of time between Christ’s first and second coming.

Just before Christ comes again, Satan is let loose and we have the Great Tribulation. Afterall, isn’t Satan being restrained right now? Isn’t the power of Christ restraining Satan from running totally amuck? Isn’t Christ already reigning in Heaven and on Earth? Isn’t He reigning in the hearts and minds of His followers? Well, if Christ is already reigning on earth amongst His followers, then aren’t His followers, the members of the Body of Christ, also reigning with Him? I mean, they’re members of His Body, aren’t they? And, again, when you consider that the 1st resurrection is the resurrection of the soul from darkness, which occurs when we become members of the Body of Christ, then this passage makes absolutely no sense when interpreted in the context of a physical reign of Christ on earth for exactly one thousand years at some point in the future.

So, the first resurrection, the soul coming to life, is directly related to the 2nd death…death of the soul. Those whose souls have been resurrected avoid the 2nd death…eternity in hell. Which would mean, that the 2nd resurrection is directly related to the 1st death…death of the body. Which, we know to be true. Okay: 1) 1st death…death of the body, corresponds to 2nd resurrection…resurrection of the body. 2) 2nd death…death of the soul, corresponds to the first resurrection…resurrection of the soul.

1st resurrection…resurrection of the soul; then comes the 1st death…death of the body; then comes the 2nd resurrection…resurrection of the body; then comes the 2nd death…death of the soul (for those who are not of the 1st resurrection). The “rest of the dead” are those who have not been saved…who did not receive baptism. They will rise at the end of the thousand years, at the return of Christ, to be judged.

If you are in the 1st resurrection, you avoid the 2nd death. If you are not in the 1st resurrection, you are in the 2nd death. So, 2 resurrections…one death. 1 resurrection…two deaths.

I hope that makes sense, and I hope it helps. Once you can show your opponents that the 1st resurrection is not a physical one, that it is a resurrection of the soul…bringing the soul from darkness to light…the adding of one’s name to the Book of Life…then I think you may be on your way to planting some seeds of truth with some folks and of showing that these passages simply don’t make sense if you try to interpret them as a physical, one-thousand year reign of Christ on earth.

God bless!

John Martignoni

In Conclusion

By the way, if anyone is offended because I use the word “idiot”…well, sorry ‘bout that, but that’s the word I use for Catholics who teach garbage and try to convince others that you can be healthy if you would just eat their garbage. I never use that word with non-Catholics…just for the Catholics who should, and usually do, know that they are teaching in opposition to the Church.

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Apologetics for the Masses