Tagged: Virgin Mary

What do Roman Catholics believe?

This is the second in a four-part series on Roman Catholicism.

Read part one: Who are Roman Catholics?

RosaryWhile Roman Catholics and evangelicals agree on a number of Christian doctrines, as we learned in the last column, there are profound differences between the teachings of Rome and the revealed word of God in Scripture.

As Protestant theologian Harold Brown once warned, while Catholicism holds to key fundamental articles of the faith, the church “so overlays them with extraneous and sometimes false doctrines that the foundations are no longer accessible to the majority of Catholic believers.”

Roman Catholics embrace at least seven doctrines that evangelical Christians reject as inconsistent with Scripture. In this article, we explore five of these divergent doctrines, with two more doctrines to follow in the next installment.

The Apocrypha. While evangelicals hold to the “canon” of 66 books in the Bible, Catholics argue that the apocryphal books – seven books and four parts of other books – belong in the canon. They call them deuterocanonical – literally, “second canon.”

The Council of Trent (A.D. 1545-1563) canonized these books, which include Tobit, Judith, Wisdom, Sirach, Baruch, and 1st and 2nd Maccabees. Among other things, these books support such Catholic teachings as prayers for the dead and justification by faith plus works.

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The woman fled — Revelation 12:6

Previously: She gave birth to a Son — Rev. 12:5

The scripture

Rev. 12:6 – The woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, to be fed there for 1,260 days. (HCSB)

The woman fled

Bible 5Finally in this section we are told, “The woman fled into the wilderness, where she had a place prepared by God, to be fed there for 1,260 days” (v. 6). Keep in mind that the woman in this vision is Israel. So, we might ask: When does Israel flee? Where is the wilderness? What is the special place God prepares for her? And what is the meaning of 1,260 days?

As we noted earlier, some commentators see the woman as the Virgin Mary and conclude that this flight into the wilderness is her departure with Joseph and Jesus into Egypt after Herod’s decree to kill all infant males in and around Bethlehem. Others say the woman is the church on its pilgrim journey through the present age, nourished by God while living among a vast multitude of heathens. While these interpretations have some merit, they do not seem to fit the context as well as the understanding that the woman is Israel.

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