Sunday, January 19, 2014

Do souls sleep until the Second Coming of the Lord as Seventh Day Adventists believed?

"The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things" by Hieronymus Bosch
"The Seven Deadly Sins and the Four Last Things" by Hieronymus Bosch
Question: My husband is Sabadista (Seventh Day Adventist).  His belief is that when we die, it's like we just sleep until the 2nd coming because it says Jesus will come again to judge the living and the dead. So they don't believe in saints and that they are in heaven, including mama Mary. They say that their souls only sleep because the Second Coming has not yet arrived. So according them the miracles of Mama Mary and the saints are work of the devil. Of course I do believe in miracles of Mama Mary and the saints. So what is this Second Coming? Is it not mentioned in the Mass about the souls who have gone to sleep and waiting for the coming of our Lord. Can you explain it to me?

Seventh-day Adventism Renounced After An Experience of Twenty-Eight Years
Seventh-day Adventism Renounced After An Experience of Twenty-Eight Years

There is a difference between the Particular Judgment of each individual soul after his death and the Last Judgment which happens only during the Second Coming of Christ.

A. Particular Judgment

The Particular Judgment happens immediately after our death.  This is what the Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
1021 Death puts an end to human life as the time open to either accepting or rejecting the divine grace manifested in Christ.592 The New Testament speaks of judgment primarily in its aspect of the final encounter with Christ in his second coming, but also repeatedly affirms that each will be rewarded immediately after death in accordance with his works and faith. The parable of the poor man Lazarus and the words of Christ on the cross to the good thief, as well as other New Testament texts speak of a final destiny of the soul--a destiny which can be different for some and for others.593
1022 Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death, in a particular judgment that refers his life to Christ: either entrance into the blessedness of heaven-through a purification594 or immediately,595 -- or immediate and everlasting damnation.

1. Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus
When the poor man died, he was carried away by angels to the bosom of Abraham. The rich man also died and was buried,23 and from the netherworld,* where he was in torment, he raised his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. (Lk 16:22-23)
Notice that the judgment of whether a soul goes to the bosom of Abraham or to a place of torment happens immediately after death.  At least, we can be sure that it is within the lifetime of the rich man's brothers who are still alive and for whom the rich man asked Abraham to send a messenger to warn them regarding the place of torment where he now is.  A lifetime is about 100 years.  A hundred years after Christ's death, Christ has still not returned, therefore the judgment of a soul  can happen before the Second Coming of Christ, and we refer to this judgment as particular judgment.

Miraculous Images of Our Lady: 100 Famous Catholic Statues and Portraits
Miraculous Images of Our Lady: 100 Famous Catholic Statues and Portraits
2. Good Thief
Now one of the criminals hanging there reviled Jesus, saying, “Are you not the Messiah? Save yourself and us.” 40 The other, however, rebuking him, said in reply, “Have you no fear of God, for you are subject to the same condemnation? 41 And indeed, we have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.”v 42 Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”w 43 He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”  (Lk 23:39-43)
The cross is Christ's judgment seat and on the cross Christ pronounces a judgment on the repentant thief: "Today you will be with me in Paradise."  This is still not the Last Judgment yet Christ already pronounced a judgment.  So we believe as Catholics that immediately after our death, Christ will also pronounce our judgment.

B. Miracles of the Saints and Mama Mary

Miracles by themselves cannot prove that they are from God or from demons.  That is why the Church always investigate cases of miracles.  The Church has to read the message accompanying the miracles, whether there is something heretical or not.  The Church has to look at the life of the messenger, whether he lives a heroic Christian life or not.  In case of doubt, the Church can withhold proclamation of a miracle whether as due to a saint or to Mama Mary, "for even Satan can masquerade as an angel of light" (2 Cor 11:14).  But for miracles and apparitions approved by the Catholic Church, we can be assured of their authenticity, such as the miracle of Our Lady of Fatima.

C. Last Judgment

The Last Judgment happens when Christ comes again to Judge the living and the dead.  This is what the Catechism says:

1038 The resurrection of all the dead, "of both the just and the unjust,"623 will precede the Last Judgment. This will be "the hour when all who are in the tombs will hear [the Son of man's] voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment."624 Then Christ will come "in his glory, and all the angels with him. . . . Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. . . . And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."625 ...
The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven
The Four Last Things: Death, Judgment, Hell, Heaven
1040 The Last Judgment will come when Christ returns in glory. Only the Father knows the day and the hour; only he determines the moment of its coming. Then through his Son Jesus Christ he will pronounce the final word on all history. We shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvelous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end. The Last Judgment will reveal that God's justice triumphs over all the injustices committed by his creatures and that God's love is stronger than death.628 
Here are the links to the Judgment of Nations in  Jn 5:28-29 and Mt 25:31,32,46.

D. The Mass

In the Order of the Mass we read the phrase:
Remember our brothers and sisters who have gone to their rest in the hope of rising again; bring them and all the departed into the light of your presence.
The "hope of rising again" refers to the Resurrection of the dead.  To "bring them all and all the departed into the light of your presence" is the hope that departed may see God face to face in a beatific vision, which is heaven.  Though particular judgement is not explicitly mentioned here, it does not go against it either, for God may judge the soul immediately after death, so that the soul can be brought into the light of God's presence.  If the soul has a stain of sin in him, even the tiniest stain, then he cannot enter heaven immediately, because "nothing unclean will enter it" (Rev 21: 27).  Instead, the soul has to enter the fires of Purgatory for cleansing, in the same way as Isaiah's lips were purged by burning coals:

Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed!* For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips,d and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar. 7 He touched my mouth with it. “See,” he said, “now that this has touched your lips,* your wickedness is removed, your sin purged.” (Is 6:5-7)

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