Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered outside the gate. Therefore, let us go forth to him outside the camp, bearing his reproach. For we have no continuing city here, but we seek one to come.
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It is, of course, very important to know who is a saint and who is not. God makes a person a saint by baptizing him with the holy Ghost, for a saint is anyone who has been sanctified, regardless of whether or not he has remained faithful to the Sanctifier, Jesus Christ. The act of being sanctified by the Spirit makes one a saint, not the behavior of that saint after being sanctified. Every person who has received the holy Spirit is a saint because of what God has done, not what that person has done. And such a person is a saint, whether or not men say so. A person’s becoming a saint is altogether the work of God, not of men. Only the One who has the power to baptize with the holy Ghost has the power to sanctify.
Christians have a bizarre and extended rite by which they claim to make a person a saint. As part of that prolonged ecclesiastical process (sometimes it takes many years), the rotted corpses of dead candidates for sainthood are disinterred and examined. From the January 11, 1999 edition of U.S. News and World Report comes a detailed description of how Christians make saints. Part of the process is that the persons who have nominated someone for sainthood must write a detailed, scholarly paper, called a posito, in defense of their candidate. On page 56 of the article, we are told that the posito “is often accompanied by the much grimmer task of exhuming the candidate’s corpse.” For example, the thoroughly decayed corpse of Pierre Toussaint, who died in the 19th century, was dug up by Christians in 1990, and “a forensics team spent 15 days excavating his grave, using computer imaging to match the skull to an antique photo of Toussaint.” Explained one of the Christians who was promoting Toussaint for Christian sainthood, “Rome wanted assurances that these were the real remains of Pierre Toussaint, and not just a bunch of bones.”
That’s a good idea, I think. If you’re about to make somebody a saint, you’d better make sure you have the right guy.
The article goes on to explain that disinterment of a corpse is especially needed in cases in which the candidate has been dead a long time, because “the church requires proof that the person actually existed.” This is another good idea. If you’re about to make somebody a saint, it is best to make sure the guy even existed.
It’s a good thing that the Lord never has to dig people up and examine their skull for fifteen days before giving him the holy Ghost. With their tongues rotted away, it would be very difficult for them to speak in tongues. Can you picture Jesus, in making his decision to give someone the holy Ghost, sending a band of angel investigators to earth to make sure the guy existed? If it were not for the fact that Christians claim to be doing the weird things that they sometimes do in the name of the Lord, they would be committed to a mental asylum. Instead, they honor each other and are honored by worldly men as wise, devoted servants of God. What a world!
Actually, the digging up and admiration of corpses is a long-standing tradition among Christians. This is not a well-known fact, but it is an indisputable, historical fact. Any reputable history of early Christianity will describe the crucial role that “relics” played in the spread of Christianity to Barbarian societies in northern and western Europe. “Relics” are body parts taken from dead Christian saints, believed to have power to bring good fortune to those who possess and revere them. Incredible lengths have been taken by multitudes of Christians, especially in Europe, to secure (sometimes even rob graves and steal) body parts of dead saints.
The rapid spread of Christianity among the superstitious Barbarian peoples was made possible in large measure by the use of relics. This gruesome element of the Christian experience is described in many histories of early Christianity, but the practice of the veneration of relics is not merely an ancient phenomenon; it has remained an important part of Christianity. In the late 16th century, King Philip of Spain, an extremely devout Christian, collected thousands of various body parts from cadavers of saints – hands, feet, ears, fingers, whatever he could get – then placed them in golden vessels in a specially prepared gold-plated wall in his palace, and slept close to them. To this day, body parts from Christian corpses can be found in thousands of chapels and “holy sites” around the world, and pilgrimages to those relics are still made by faithful Christians.
The most famous disinterment came in the “cadaver synod” of A.D. 897. In this case, Pope Stephen VI ordered that the still-rotting corpse of his hated, recently deceased predecessor, Pope Formoses, was to be exhumed and put on trial. From page 83 of the book, Saints and Sinners: A History of the Popes (Eamon Duffy. Yale University Press, 1997), we are told that “the corpse, dressed in pontifical vestments and propped up on a throne, was found guilty of perjury and other crimes, was mutilated by having the fingers used in blessings hacked off, and was then tossed into the Tiber [River].” We are not told what defense the dead Pope offered on his own behalf. Apparently though, Pope Stephen’s display of Christian zeal was too much for even Christians to endure. Stephen was deposed, and later, while in prison, strangled. We are not told if his body was brought to trial or was sliced up and given out to provide relics for various chapels in Europe.
Folks, such a history as this is unworthy of the name of Jesus. But this is Christianity’s history, and God ordained that men should record it so that His people could clearly see how ungodly that religion is, and so that they would be encouraged to obey God and come out of it. That is why I am bringing it to your attention. It is a nasty thing to dig up a corpse for any reason, but it is spiritual insanity to dig up a rotting cadaver as part of one’s service to Jesus. To do so is to partake of one of the world’s grossest delusions. Is there any wonder that the Spirit is crying out to us, “Come out of her, my people”?
My advice is for us all to wait until Jesus comes, and let him raise up the dead. He’s the only one who really knows how. Those whom he raises up will live again, and will live in new, glorified bodies, not in the same old fleshly bodies in which they lived previously. Those decayed corpses of flesh will be left behind for the entertainment of fools, to worship or to condemn in court – whatever they choose to do with them. Those who belong to Christ have far better things to do.