Time Indicators
August 8, 2005

Let me begin by saying I have never understood why people say, "Rest in Peace." Just what exactly is resting in peace? A corpse? There is nothing about that statement that aligns itself with my worldview on death and the house of flesh left behind when we pass on from this Earth. Nevertheless, I digress. Death for all of us is inevitable, but when I heard that Peter Jennings died last night, I must say, I was a bit taken back. There is some sort of buffer to reality that seems to encompass those with incredible influence on the masses. It's as though historical A-list personalities are invincible to the goings on of life (and death). That notion is probably responsible for more damage than success in America. Tragedy however, is no respecter of persons.

Last night when I found out, my first inclination was to say, "My goodness, yet another one gone?!" It could be just me, but it seems like the last two years have seen more deaths of firmly established public figures than years in the past. The thing that really strikes me is these people aren't just "celebrity-types," but gatekeepers within an era. The list of recent notable deaths is long. This world is run by seasons. We all know the song made famous by "The Byrds," which Pete Seeger co-opted from Ecclesiastes. To everything there is a season.

If you look at the statistics, following periods of high mortality, there is usually an influx of babies born. The season of tremendous loss leads to me believe there is some shifting going on around the corner. As with all events, I often ask myself what impact the death of a public figure has on the living. For one, it leaves us an opportunity to usher in a new era. Many of the anchors (the literal ones and the figurative ones) of the past generation are either passing on or stepping down.

I have to wonder about the direction the next generation will take news media. Let's hope it's going to a much better place.

Other bloggers weigh-in on Jennings' Death this list will be short because linking takes too much energy:
- Digital Karen of Scottsdale notes that Jennings' death was announced in perhaps too much of a world-tragedy-type manner.
- Michelle Malkin has a big run-down of reports
- Technorati's #1 search today is "Peter Jennings." It seems the blogosphere is buzzing.

Posted by Ambra at August 8, 2005 8:14 AM in Culture
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My colleague and I had the conversation today that one minute he announced that he had cancer, then next thing you know, he's gone. We both assumed he would beat this, historically one of the absolute deadliest cancers. I mean, he's PETER JENNINGS, for crying out loud. But, if MLK, Ronald Reagan, and King Jesus gotta go, then...

And I believe that "May he/she rest in peace," along with many other post-mortem sentiments, are for the living, not the deceased. They're designed to make us feel better about what "the other side" holds for the dearly departed. As you well know, nothing we can say or do after they're gone can change their destiny.

Holla.

Ambra, the first thing that always comes to my mind when a famous person like Peter Jennings dies is that medicine, modern or ancient, can't always save you. We keep hearing demands for universal health care for everyone, Jennings had a bottomless well, and it didn't work. As far as "Resting In Peace", I'm sure we will all find out for ourselves, but I for one am not in a rush!

"Rest in Peace" doesn't seem too far off mark if we are, after all, supposed to find rest for our souls in Jesus. But I try not to read too much into the statement and generally view it as a pleasantry.

I haven't watched network tv in years and probably wouldn't have heard of Mr. Jennings' death if I didn't read any blogs. I hope his family can work through their grief to continue leading full, happy lives.

Ambra, I must start out by telling you, once again, that you are a fantastic writer. You put so much work into each entry... it is a pleasure to visit your site each day! Whether your entries are on topics of serious issues or lighthearted ones, I am always amazed at the depth of thought you put into them. Well done! I think you should be writing for a high-profile magazine or newspaper... I would subscribe for sure! :)

I was shocked by the news of Peter Jennings death as well. I was ironing my clothes and a "breaking news" bulletin came on to announce his passing. I felt the same way as you did... sort of surprised that even the societal elite cannot escape death. Sometimes we forget that.

This past year has been revelational for me though... in terms of my persepective on my own mortality. I used to live like I was invincible... firmly and comfortably (and ignorantly) convinced that I was immune to tragedy. But then one day, I woke to the news that one of my best friends and his fiance were missing. Suddenly my whole world was turned upside-down... because "those stories" you hear on the news every day about missing persons was not someone else's tragedy, but my own. A few days later, my friend Jason and his fiance Lindsay, were found shot to death on a beach in California. Let me tell you... my entire world... the little "bubble" I was living in... was completely shattered. Thankfully though... what Satan meant for harm and heartbreak has been turned around into victory for Jesus because of the lives that Jason and Lindsay lived. Their legacy lives on and they have inspired countless people to turn to Jesus. I've heard the stories... the media doesn't talk about them... but they are countless and they are amazing. I speak with Jason's family regularly and it is remarkable how God is providing outreach opportunities through the wake of this tragedy. And though I wake up every day wishing that they had never been murdered... I am thankful to my Heavenly Father for bringing us sweetness in the midst of all of this pain.

My perspective on life and death is drammatically different now. My heart breaks for families and loved ones of those who die having not been saved by Jesus Christ. This world is so focused on self-gratification and materialism and they completely miss the point of why we are even alive. We are not here to make money, accumulate stuff, and enjoy ourselves by living wrecklessly and selfishly... we are here to live out God's plan for our lives.

The moment I first understood that was the moment my heart was filled with incredible peace. God is truly amazing. Believers need not be afraid of dying, because in death we begin our eternal lives. What an awesome God we serve!

I don't know what Peter Jennings believed when it comes to Salvation, but for his family's sake, I hope he was a saved man.

indeed. the phrase 'rest in peace' reflects confusion on christendom's part concerning what the state of the dead actually is. however, since even Jesus acknowledged that his friend Lazarus was 'asleep' (dead. as in, not in heaven, but in the grave, or hell/hades/the pit or common grave: not a lake of burning fire), it was as though he was resting. and in need of resurrection. see how simple it really is? [Ecclesiastes 9:5; Ezekiel 18:4]

BTW, love your site.

My response to the death of Peter Jennings was...oh. It's grievious when anyone dies who doesn't (appear) to know Christ, but I can't join the country wide mourning based on the fact that we've lost a news anchor.
I mourn the loss of unsaved life, but looking at the surface, what did Peter Jennings do to positively change the world? I know that this sounds harsh, and I mean no harm to any who may read this who actually knew and loved the man, but in terms of his impact on the world, I don't get it.

Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr., Booker T. Washington, heck even Donald Trump came and changed the world they found, leaving it different from the way they found it.

I openly admit that I am not aware of Peter Jenning's contribution to society. They could be many and varied, especially since many gerat givers do so in silence. I'm just saying that I don't know of them, and I haven't seen any mentioned in press eulogy.

I don't want to go to The Lord only leaving a legacy of "he was a good reporter".

I want to crack the crust of the planet and reshape the world.

"Rest in peace" is a phrase that predates Protestantism, and one which Protestants have continued to use, though most of them do not pray for the dead. This is a short prayer for the repose of the soul of the departed -- not that the body might rest undisturbed. Praying for the dead is something that all Christians did prior to the Protestant Reformation, and is something that they have in common with both Jews and Muslims. See:

http://www.answers.com/topic/prayer-for-the-dead

The phrase specifically comes from this prayer:

"Eternal rest grant unto him/her (them), O Lord; and let perpetual light shine upon him/her (them). May he/she (they) rest in peace. Amen."

"Réquiem ætérnam dona ei (eis) Dómine; et lux perpétua lúceat ei (eis). Requiéscat (Requiéscant) in pace. Amen."

I think "rest in peace" mostly makes the family feel better, too. If that person has gone to hell, telling them to rest in peace isn't going to help them any.
As to praying for the dead...that doesn't make any difference. That person made their own choices in life, and have to face the consequences in death. Our prayers for them after their death won't change their consequences any.

"Praying for the dead is something that all Christians did prior to the Protestant Reformation, and is something that they have in common with both Jews and Muslims."

~It was an action undertaken by some and corrected immediately. The first example to spring to mind is Hebrews 9:27 with "once to die and then the judgement" indicating that physical death sealed the record, though some would interject a time between in which changes can occur. This also shows that scripture taught that the die was cast in life.

For prayers to affect the standing of the dead one must refuse to believe all the scriptures which point us to living a holy life here and now. Why not live like the Devil and have someone ready to pray for your soul after you die?

Once you die, the choice is removed.

ehhh...I'm not sure I buy these definitions of "Rest in Peace." I tend to agree with Anne...I think it's more of a saying to appease the living.

Mark wrote (Re: prayers for the dead):

"~It was an action undertaken by some and corrected immediately. The first example to spring to mind is Hebrews 9:27 with "once to die and then the judgement" indicating that physical death sealed the record, though some would interject a time between in which changes can occur. This also shows that scripture taught that the die was cast in life."

I respond: Historically speaking, it is simply contrary to fact to say that "it was corrected immediately", i.e. that the kabosh was put on praying for the dead. You find references to praying for the dead throughout Christian literature, from apostolic times to the Protestant Reformation... and prior to the reformation, no one objected to it. The fact that the Jews also pray for the dead is a good indicator that the Christians got this from them, and the only time period in which this could have occurred was during the time of Christ and the Apostles... because it didn't take long after the resurrection of Christ for the Church and the Synagogue to part company completely.

It is true that St. Paul said that after we die, then there is the judgment, but obviously the final judgment is something that no one has yet experienced. The Tradition of the Church is that there is an immediate particular judgment when one dies, and then the final judgment. The Church teaches that the prayers for the dead are for the consolation of both the dead and the living. The prayers in some way are beneficial to the departed, and they help the living to entrust their loved one to God's mercy. The Church does not teach that one can live however they wish, and that the prayers for them after they die will save them.

The Orthodox, by the way, do not believe in purgatory.

Here is a link that has citations from some of the early Fathers of the Church on prayers for the dead.

HREF="http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/a106.htm">http://www.bringyou.to/apologetics/a106.htm

Here is the previous article, hopefully hyperlinked this time:

HREF="http://www.answers.com/topic/prayer-for-the-dead">http://www.answers.com/topic/prayer-for-the-dead

If any one can cite a Christian writer prior to the year 1400 that argued against prayers for the dead, I will stand corrected. There is simply no arguing that this was not the practice of the Church given the endless citations that can be pointed to, and the lack of citations that can be pointed to that argue against the practice.

Not ALL Christians prayed for the dead. If it were a required or even beneficial practice, wouldn't we have been instructed by The Holy Spirit through His inspiration of Scripture to do so?

It's a waste of Christ's precious sacrifice to pray for the dead. Better to be obedient and make disciples of the living. Th edie for the dead is cast upon death. The rich man could no longer be affected in terms of his final destination despite his begging for the intervention of Lazarus. Would that not have been a clearly defining and opportune moment for the verification of this practice?

You mention "Christian literature", but I would humbly require you show through scriptural principle or direct statement that this is valid. I appreciate writings that elucidate scripture faithfully, but when they add to scripture I turn them away.

No offense meant to you at all, I just do not see Scriptural support for the practice.

Mark wrote:

"Not ALL Christians prayed for the dead. If it were a required or even beneficial practice, wouldn't we have been instructed by The Holy Spirit through His inspiration of Scripture to do so?"

I respond: How do you know that not all did? Can you cite one who objected? It is found consistently throughout Church history in the writings of the saints.

Mark: "It's a waste of Christ's precious sacrifice to pray for the dead. Better to be obedient and make disciples of the living. Th edie for the dead is cast upon death. The rich man could no longer be affected in terms of his final destination despite his begging for the intervention of Lazarus. Would that not have been a clearly defining and opportune moment for the verification of this practice?"

Me: I have already stated that the Church has never taught that prayers for a wicked or unrepentant man would save him.

Mark: "You mention "Christian literature", but I would humbly require you show through scriptural principle or direct statement that this is valid. I appreciate writings that elucidate scripture faithfully, but when they add to scripture I turn them away."

Me: First off, whether it is in Scripture or not does not change the fact that it was the universal practice of Christians prior to the Reformation. Secondly, your question makes assumptions about the Scriptures that I do not grant you. See:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/tca_solascriptura.aspx

Thirdly, in the Bible that the early Church used, you do find such support:

II Maccabees 12:43-46: "And making a gathering, he [Judas] sent twelve thousand drachms of silver to Jerusalem for sacrifice to be offered for the sins of the dead, thinking well and religiously concerning the resurrection, (For if he had not hoped that they that were slain should rise again, it would have seemed superfluous and vain to pray for the dead,) And because he considered that they who had fallen asleep with godliness, had great grace laid up for them. It is therefore a holy and wholesome thought to pray for the dead, that they may be loosed from sins."

To read up on the issue of what books should be included in the Old Testament, see:

http://orthodoxinfo.com/inquirers/otcanon.aspx

You also find St. Paul praying for the dead in 2nd Timothy 1:16-18.

"You also find St. Paul praying for the dead in 2nd Timothy 1:16-18."

16May the Lord show mercy to the household of Onesiphorus, because he often refreshed me and was not ashamed of my chains. 17On the contrary, when he was in Rome, he searched hard for me until he found me. 18May the Lord grant that he will find mercy from the Lord on that day! You know very well in how many ways he helped me in Ephesus."

~There is no proof given that Onesiphorus was dead at the time of this writing.

Also, a major reason why books like Maccabees are not included in the canon of scripture is their doubtful origin and passages which conflict with the teachigns of Christ. To accept the passage you've give we must accept that one can buy forgiveness of sins. This would indicate that the price had not already been paid. That would lean to saying that Christ's sacrifice on the cross wasn't enough to pay the price. This by logical necessity would mean that He wasn't perfect. This would make Him a liar.

Mark wrote:

"There is no proof given that Onesiphorus was dead at the time of this writing."

Me: Only his household is spoken of in the present tense. He is not saluted at the end of the epistle... only his household, and he prays that God will have mercy on him on the day of judgment... it is clear he is no longer among the living at this point.

Mark: "Also, a major reason why books like Maccabees are not included in the canon of scripture is their doubtful origin and passages which conflict with the teachigns of Christ. To accept the passage you've give we must accept that one can buy forgiveness of sins. This would indicate that the price had not already been paid. That would lean to saying that Christ's sacrifice on the cross wasn't enough to pay the price. This by logical necessity would mean that He wasn't perfect. This would make Him a liar."

Me: Your reasons for rejecting Maccabees begs the question. Sacrifices were offered in the Temple for sin in the Old Testament... was this buying salvation? Did those sacrifices implies that Christ's sacrifice on the Cross was insufficient? If so, then God instituted it Himself. Obviously, offering a sacrifice implies no such thing.

On what basis do you know what books should be in the Old Testament? Says who?

"Sacrifices were offered in the Temple for sin in the Old Testament... was this buying salvation? Did those sacrifices implies that Christ's sacrifice on the Cross was insufficient? If so, then God instituted it Himself. Obviously, offering a sacrifice implies no such thing."

~I could be forgetting something but I don't recall any cash/currency offerrings except in support of the daily needs of the temple and the priests. As far as the Old Testament books go, If they are contradictory to Christ's message/don't stand in line with the revealed law/contain untruths/are mostly conjecture or rumor then I can agree with thow who decided that they weren't Canonical.

There is nothng missing from the canon of Scripture that any man needs to be saved or to know God or to live a godly life. While I certainly read the works of men who further explain the truths found there, the Scriptures themselves are such a deep pool of knowledge in themselves that studying them alone takes more than a lifetime to fully grasp.

Introducing other concepts takes away from precious time in The Word, and few enough people spend time there as it is.

Mark wrote:

"~I could be forgetting something but I don't recall any cash/currency offerrings except in support of the daily needs of the temple and the priests."

Me: The Temple did not provide animals for sacrifice for free. Judah Maccabee sent money to Jerusalem to pay for the animals that would be sacrificed. Sacrifices were always offered at the expense of the one who made the sacrifice. In fact, when King David had a chance to have sacrifices offered on his behalf for free, he refused:

"And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver" (2 Samuel 24:24)

Why could one not read this passage and assert with equal justice that "To accept [this] passage... we must accept that one can buy forgiveness of sins. This would indicate that the price had not already been paid. That would lea[d us] to [say] that Christ's sacrifice on the cross wasn't enough to pay the price"?

Mark: "As far as the Old Testament books go, If they are contradictory to Christ's message/don't stand in line with the revealed law/contain untruths/are mostly conjecture or rumor then I can agree with thow who decided that they weren't Canonical. There is nothng missing from the canon of Scripture that any man needs to be saved or to know God or to live a godly life. While I certainly read the works of men who further explain the truths found there, the Scriptures themselves are such a deep pool of knowledge in themselves that studying them alone takes more than a lifetime to fully grasp."

Me: The question is, on what basis do you assert that 2nd Samuel is part of the Old Testament and 2nd Maccabees is not? How do you know this? By what authority?

"Me: The Temple did not provide animals for sacrifice for free. Judah Maccabee sent money to Jerusalem to pay for the animals that would be sacrificed. Sacrifices were always offered at the expense of the one who made the sacrifice. In fact, when King David had a chance to have sacrifices offered on his behalf for free, he refused:

"And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshingfloor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver" (2 Samuel 24:24)"


~~That's still the shedding of blood as was required. Hardly equal to offering the Silver itself. Nowhere close in fact. The price in sacrifice was blood.

"Me: The question is, on what basis do you assert that 2nd Samuel is part of the Old Testament and 2nd Maccabees is not? How do you know this? By what authority?"

~~As I said before and stand on, what is in the canon of scripture is more than sufficient for salvation and the shaping of one's daily life along God's pathway. None else is needed so anything else is dilution at best.

Mark wrote: "That's still the shedding of blood as was required. Hardly equal to offering the Silver itself. Nowhere close in fact. The price in sacrifice was blood. "

Me: Judah Maccabee was not sending money to be sacrificed. He was sending money to purchase sacrificial animals to be offered in Jerusalem, just as is provided for by the law, and just as David did in the scripture I cited.

Mark: "As I said before and stand on, what is in the canon of scripture is more than sufficient for salvation and the shaping of one's daily life along God's pathway. None else is needed so anything else is dilution at best."

Me: How do you know what books are in the canon, Mark? The Books of the Bible did not fall out of heaven with a table of contents at the begining. It was the Church that determined what the canon of Scripture was, and the Church included 2nd Maccabees. Protestants needed to ditch this book, and so they adopted the canon that the non-Christian Jews established after the Christians and the Jews parted company. This was an abitrary move on the part of Protestants.

"This was an abitrary move on the part of Protestants."


~~Do you disagree that the Bible contains all that is necessary to understand who Jesus is, how one is saved and how to live the Christian life?

Also, are there not issues of disagreement between the Apocrypha and other extra-biblical writings and what we have today as Scripture in the Bible?

I'm not talking about semantic differences as so many who do not actually read the Word use when they say that the Bible disagrees with itself, (which we know it doesn't) but actual, substantive differences in history and doctrine?

Mark wrote: "Do you disagree that the Bible contains all that is necessary to understand who Jesus is, how one is saved and how to live the Christian life?"

Me: You continue to beg the question of who said what the Bible was going to be.

Also, 2nd Thessalonians 2:15 says were should hold fast to Tradition, whether by word (oral tradition) or Epistle (Scripture). Do you disagree with St. Paul?

Mark: "Also, are there not issues of disagreement between the Apocrypha and other extra-biblical writings and what we have today as Scripture in the Bible?"

Me: The Bible as I have it today, and as the Church determined it to be, contains 2nd Maccabees.

Mark wrote: "Do you disagree that the Bible contains all that is necessary to understand who Jesus is, how one is saved and how to live the Christian life?"

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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