Loaves, Fish, Stones, Eggs, Scorpions, Serpents, and a “Father”
Four times in the Gospels, Christ fed the people with five loaves and two fish. In another passage, he says unto his disciples, what father would give his child a stone if he asked for bread, or a serpent if asked for a fish? A scorpion for an egg? How much more will the good Father in heaven give you the Spirit if you ask. Still in another passage, He saith to His 72, I have given you power to tread upon scorpions and serpents, and nothing shall harm you. Further, in Apocalypse Chapter 9, at the blowing of the fifth trumpet, frightening creatures emerge that have tails like scorpions and that then go forth and torture those persons without the Seal of God for five months.
Now, all this imagery is indeed vivid and marked, but I think it should be clear that deep profundity is present here, much less that what is meant here is in no wise literal bread, fish, scorpions, and serpents. For in the end, I dare say that if you place a modern bishop or pope, who are themselves “fathers” [spiritual fathers!], into a deep pit filled with literal scorpions and serpents, they will all be bitten and stung untold times, cry out in agony for a while, and perish. For, certainly, Christ did not come to give bishops, or any other Christian for that matter, protection from physical harms but spiritual ones. Hence, therefore, our fishes and bread and scorpions and stones and serpents are spiritual entities.
In fact, we know as Catholics that whereas countless Christians throughout history have not been spared famine, and plague, and sword, and creatures of prey, faithful Catholics of all ages have been spared spiritual harm of false teaching. Behold, right before the Christ said, I will give you power to tread on scorpions and serpents, He said this:
He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.
This passage is simply referring to the infallible teaching authority of the mediated fatherhood of the Magisterium, the Bishops and the Pope!
For I can say unto you this much: that whereas our aforementioned bishops and popes in the conjectured pit would perish by the lethal stings and bites from the vile literal scorpions and serpents, nevertheless, if vile heretics send out spiritual scorpions, heresies, to harm the faithful, the mediating “Fathers” will gather together in Council and sift through these little pests to see where the poison is. And when they have found it, by agreement, or by Peter’s solemn stamp of approval, they shall burn up these horrendous small monsters and then cook up eggs, fish, and bread and give them to the humble, docile children that, like lambs, trust the good Fathers that Jesus has given us, to stand in for the ultimate Father of Lights in Heaven!
Therefore, when we look at this passage of an intimate father who clearly gives his children the good things rather than the bad, we simply must realize that although Jesus says, How much more will the Heavenly Father give the good Spirit to those who ask, we simply cannot interpret this like Protestants and believe that the Father in Heaven gives all truth and grace directly to his children!
For, for the deeper and more needful truths and graces are given through secondary fathers, mediating fathers. In fact, by these very observations, far from vindicating the Protestant position, a deeper analysis will be seen to vindicate the Catholic position.
Hence, now we have a framework for establishing an ecclesiological interpretation of the “fathers” who mediate spiritual food for mind and will.
Obviously, then, this establishes gradations of fathers, descending in degree of goodness.
The hierarchy is clearly by Catholic measure:
The Heavenly Father
The Supreme Apostolic Successor, Peter
The General Apostolic Successors, Bishops
Material Heretical Ministers
Formal Heretical Ministers
Supernaturally Dead Monotheists [Infidels] [Deists, Rationalists]
The Father of Lies, the Dragon
Here, now, we can move through the layers of Fathers, but, first let us review the theology of the loaves and fishes as Sacraments:
In the following writing below...
Christian Division and the Sacraments: Revealed in Loaves and Fishes? https://www.facebook.com/notes/scott-pauline/five-loaves-two-fish-the-seven-sacraments-and-heresy/10153467244877144
...we saw that the Sacraments are beautifully imaged, by way of theology about Christian Division in the Body of Christ, in the Loaves and Fishes passages of the Gospels. There, we saw that just as there are five loaves and two fish, seven total objects, so there are seven total sacraments, and five of them require a priest, whereas five do not. The two that do not are Baptism and Marriage, and the five that do (and in one case a bishop) are Confession, Eucharist, Confirmation, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick.
More closely, heretics lose these five sacraments and retain only two, Baptism and Marriage, because these other five require Apostolic Succession, or priests, which the heretics lack since they have separated themselves from Apostolic Succession. Further, Apostolic Succession and the Sacred Tradition, which are consummate with it, provide stability to the understanding of Scriptural doctrine. Without this foundation, one flounders about in the sea of doctrinal chaos that is Sola- Scriptura. Hence, that Protestants retain only two sacraments is like two fish: they can only catch two fish in the sea of the tossing of the waves, one doctrine to another. In contrast, the five loaves are made of barely or wheat, which must be grown in the earth. The earth, too, according to St. Paul to Timothy (1 Tim 3:15), is a symbol of the foundation of the Church, which, of course, is in Bishops and Tradition. Hence, since Protestants lack the earth of Bishops and Tradition, they lack stability in doctrine and grace.
We have also seen that Baptism and Marriage are effectively like basic Sacraments, summarizing, in their supreme signs, all that is good. Further, mystically, they provide a profound interpretation of Apocalypse 13, where we see the second beast, or the false prophet, as having two horns like Lamb (who has seven, cited in Apocalypse 4-5)
(See: The Modern Darkness: Its Supreme Lies https://www.facebook.com/notes/scott-pauline/the-modern-darkness-its-supreme-lies/10153459171167144)
We can then ask, what about these five sacraments? Here, I argue that another mystical meaning is present, an unbelievably profound meaning: if Baptism and Marriage are the most basic Sacraments, the sign of all that is good, the signs of basic Christianity, of the great beginning of Salvation and the hoped-for very end, then the five remaining Sacraments fill in the gaps, fill in the specificities and subtleties of the general journey between the beginning and the end. More to the point, if the heretics lack these five sacraments through their lack of the Episcopate, it would seem to imply that all that they disagree on or are confounded by can be summed up in the full theological implications of these very five sacraments they lack!
Returning to the hierarchy of “fathers” above, we can move through the layers of Fathers:
The Heavenly Father
The Supreme Apostolic Successor, Peter
The General Apostolic Successors, Bishops
Material Heretical Ministers
Formal Heretical Ministers
Supernaturally Dead Monotheists [Infidels] [Deists, Rationalists]
The Father of Lies, the Dragon
The Heavenly Father
First, the Heavenly Father is clearly the ultimate Father, but He does not, again, as we have seen, give all grace and truth directly to the lay Christian. Rather, He desires the more meaningful graces to come through Fathers who stand between Him and the lay Christian.
The Pope is the supreme mediating Father. To him resides the fullness of truth, and, too, like all other bishops, he can give the seven sacraments.
General Bishops are also formal mediators of infallible truth provided they cling to Peter. Too, they can give all seven sacraments.
Priests are not infallible, but they share in the teaching ministry of the Bishops, and they can give up to six of the sacraments, leaving out Holy Orders, which must have a bishop. So, effectively, from our metaphor, priests can give their children four loaves and two fish.
Deacons are good fathers who participate in the teaching ministry, but are not infallible, and can only give the fish, Baptism and Marriage, since they are not ordained to level of confecting the Eucharist or forgiving sins.
Good Protestant Ministers
From here, we leave the Catholic boundaries into Protestantism (the Orthodox have Bishops and priests and so have all the seven sacraments but lack the fullness of truth; like Catholic Bishops and The Pope, still they have Tradition which renders them far more stable than the heretical Protestant sects that are tossed all over.).
Now, there are good heretics and there are bad heretics. Good heretics are those who are not fully culpable for their errors. They may innocently not know of the Catholic Church, or have misinformation about it. Either way, a good heretic is someone who wants to do the Will of Christ as best as he understands it and seeks to know and love God with his help, so help him God. Ministers of this type, though they are not actually formally men of God, nevertheless are like men of God subjectively. Because they are not priests, like deacons, they cannot give the five loaves, but they can give the two fish, Baptism and Marriage. Why? Because the Church defines from antiquity, “the Baptism of heretics is valid, de fide”. And then, if they have valid Baptism, Marriage is also a valid sacrament for them since, any baptized man and woman that come together in true sincerity, capacity and consummation form a sacramental marriage.
Bad Protestants Ministers
Now, however, we must digress to a frightening condition, the formal heretical minister. This is a man who is culpable for his separation from Rome. He is usually angry and bitter at the Church and hates it! He is self-righteous and takes out his spiritual wrath on innocent heretics. And what is that wrath? Why not the instabilities that come from the five lost sacraments!
Hence, in place of loaves, he gives stones: Has Rome said these five are sacramental graces?! They are not! I have none to give but a heart of stone!
Too, the theological, doctrinal, and salvific implications of these sacraments that are lacking leave one in uncertainty and, therefore, fear, even torture, spiritually. More specifically, we seek to examine, what might the scorpion in place of the egg be? Here, an egg is, literally, the fruit developed from the fowl, who stands upon the earth heralding the light of day, orally, by crowing. Moreover, this creature that orally proclaims the light of day is also standing upon the earth, which we have seen to be the foundation of truth, the bishops, who themselves disseminate the same tradition. Hence, the egg becomes the fruit of the Oral Word of God proclaimed upon the foundation of the bishops! The fruit of the Oral Word of God proclaimed by the church is none other than doctrinal development, which itself gives a surer, infallible understanding of the Written Word of God, and of all doctrinal questions.
Hence, precisely because the heretical sects lack the stability of infallible teaching, of inerrant doctrines, the cold heretical minister gives the poor innocent children scorpions, which are spiritual torture.
Here, the apocalypse passage, chapter 9, can apply above: Those with the Seal of God, protected from harm, are good Catholics, who listen to Mother Church when she blows the trumpets of proclamation of her teachings. But the Protestants did not listen or did not trust. The hard, cold, angry heretics then became creatures with scorpions for tails and tortured poor heretics, who had not the seal, for five months, which could be five dimensions of spiritual time that span between beginning salvation [Baptism] and the heavenly home [Marriage].
And this really is the lot of the innocent heretics. Fearfully, and quite frankly rightly, the heretics ask the deeper questions: What should I believe? What must I do to be saved? Where is the true church? Who really speaks for God?... and the torture goes on and on. Yes, the heretic knows the very basic message, as we have seen, from the two fish he has:
Baptism: I am called to faith and repentance.
Heavenly Marriage: My goal is the heavenly marriage, to be with God in union forever
But everything in between? No certitude! And we will see that these five sacraments they lose, truly in their full theological implications, summarize the near totality of what Protestants confound.
Deists and Rationalists
Now, we may digress even further, to what can be called, supernaturally dead infidelity, or base natural religionists. These men, too, are fathers, but their message is deadly! It is no longer a scorpion, as in the fifth trumpet, or Protestantism, but a serpent, or the sixth trumpet, the age of “enlightenment”, worldly naturalism, and solo ratio (reason alone). Here, disillusioned by incomprehensible confounding of supernatural religion by Protestantism, and its associated hatreds and bloodshed, man rejected supernatural religion and fell into merely natural goodness, reason alone, the final vestige of truth. So then, the rationalists and the deists, while still believing, rightly, in a Creator, or Supreme Being, and some sense of natural law, or the ethical principles of the Decalogue, nevertheless rejected any conception of a God who supernaturally involves himself with man, meaning, there is no Divine Revelation, nor any Divine Intervention.
And so whereas the deists and rationalists will still call one of their children to seek to know God and do what is right, because they say it can be done on one’s own natural power and faculties, they have set the child on path to hell, since, “With man [natural power], it is impossible [to be saved]! But with GOD, all things are possible [with grace and revelation we can be saved]”. Since, therefore, their message is deadly, it is a serpent, just as the tails of the creatures in the sixth trumpet are not scorpions, like the fifth trumpet, but serpents.
In other words, per our analogies, the child asks the deist or rationalist: Should I have the two fish:
Baptismal Disposition: to have faith in what can be known of god, his Revelation, and to repent, seeking His help?
Marital Disposition toward God: Should I seek a happiness beyond this world that transcends the merely natural?
And the deist or rationalist, a bad father, will give him some food that has some truth, but not enough to save, and so serpents:
Dead Baptism: Seek to know God, but you can find his truths with just your brain; you don’t need him to tell you; and seek to do good, but you can be good on your own power; you don’t need grace!
Dead Marital Disposition toward God: Too, the afterlife suggested by many deists and rationalists, since it is not Trinitarian, is many times just a reflection of natural happiness on earth.
The Dragon, the Father of Lies
Finally, the last Father is the diabolical one himself, the Father of Lies, who gives the ultimate serpents in place of the fish:
Hence, as above, the child comes before the father of lies and asks:
Should we seek to know and love God in this life and marry Him in the next? And the dragon gives the utter antithesis and counterfeit:
Anti-Baptismal Spirit: “Have no regard for the Baptismal disposition--no faith, no repentance: believe what you want and do what you want, you will be better off, more satisfied, and there will be no consequences, whether in this life or any presumed afterlife.”
Anti-Marital Spirit: The second lie is like it: Don't live for the Marriage with God in the next life but live for superficial "intercourse", or fornication, figuratively, with the world, the counterpart to God. That is, seek not to marry the Creator in the next life, but spiritually fornicate withe Creation in this life, MATERIALISM. Seek your fulfillment not in the Uncreated goods of love, truth, beauty, and gift, but the merely brute created goods: pleasures, possessions, and egotistical accomplishments.
So we revisit the Scriptures we have seen:
And which of you, if he ask his father bread, will he give him a stone? or a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent?  Or if he shall ask an egg, will he reach him a scorpion?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father from heaven give the good Spirit to them that ask him?
Again, Luke 10:
He that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, despiseth me; and he that despiseth me, despiseth him that sent me.  And the seventy-two returned with joy, saying: Lord, the devils also are subject to us in thy name.  And he said to them: I saw Satan like lightning falling from heaven.  Behold, I have given you power to tread upon serpents and scorpions, and upon all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall hurt you.
And from the smoke of the pit there came out locusts upon the earth. And power was given to them, as the scorpions of the earth have power:  And it was commanded them that they should not hurt the grass of the earth, nor any green thing, nor any tree: but only the men who have not the sign of God on their foreheads.  And it was given unto them that they should not kill them; but that they should torment them five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion when he striketh a man.
And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses … And they had tails like to scorpions, and there were stings in their tails; and their power was to hurt men five months…
Again, the five months can be seen as the mystical five dimensions of sacramental time, and the torture is spiritual: scorpions of heresy, deriving from the implications of the five sacraments the heretics lack. We are now in position to argue the natures of these tortures and instabilities:
A Theology of the Five Sacraments that Heretics lose by Leaving the Church
We recall, again, that there are five sacraments that no Protestant can have while Protestant. These five absolutely require the priests and, in one case, a bishop, effectively the Episcopate. They are:
Anointing of Sick
Each of these five sacraments firmly grounds the Catholic child between the extremes of presumption and scrupulosity:
The Catholic Balance
Confession: You can fall from grace after initial justification, therefore, do not presume; but do not cower in fear, for there is a certain remedy for mercy if you do: confession to a mediating father of God's grace.
Anointing of the sick: There is always mercy from God before death, even in the evening. There is no unforgivable sin before death. God will call upon you unto the end, therefore, do not have unnecessary fear. But do not presume, for he comes like a thief. Postpone not your conversion, for how do you know the priest will be available in your last hour, and you will be unable to muster up perfect contrition when the night descends?
Confirmation: God sincerely desires that all men might be elect, enough that he offers, through the anointing hands of the priest, seven special gifts of the Spirit to aid you in the mature journey of faith, therefore, fear not. Yet do not presume your election, and forego this sacrament because it is not technically necessary for salvation! For, shall you risk being like the five foolish virgins that did not bring extra oil for the slumbering night?
Holy Orders: There is a sure way to know which men truly speak for God, the true doctrines. It is those men who have been formally ordained by the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. These are the true men of God, not merely because they possess Scripture but because they possess the spiritual manual to understand Scripture: the Tradition. Hence, whoever wishes to know the true meaning of Scripture, consult an Orthodox or Catholic priest or Bishop, and, for the fullness of faith, a Catholic bishop or priest who fully aligns with Peter. Hence, do not fear, little one: this is the sure way to know speaks for God. But hard-hearted heretics, presume not! Shall you presume that your private dialogue with the Spirit gives you an edge over the men who formally succeed the Apostles? For if you are just one of myriads of men who hold the Scriptures in your hands, what makes you any different from other 99 men who do the same, but no two of which fully agree with you or one another on all pertinent questions of doctrine? Who called you, O proud heretic? If you say, my pastor did, then who called him, and so forth? Can your lineage be traced formally in history back to the first men of Christ, the Apostles?
The True Communion: There is a certain way to know which disciples truly possess the fellowship of Christ, and this is where the Eucharist is. And this true presence of Christ exists only in the Churches of Catholicism and the Orthodox. Certainly, Christ is literally there. Therefore, fear not, you needn't search among myriads of competing bible-only factions to find this true communion. On the same token, you proud heretic, presume not that you can be saved if you culpably leave the true Church and found your own sect! For these is One Bride of Christ, who believes the same and worships the same in essence. This is the Catholic Church. If you know she is real, you must stay in her or join her, or perish!
We see here, then, the five sacraments which keep a Catholic balanced.
Now, the dragon twists and mocks the Sacraments. We saw above that the sacraments above, when faithfully received, keep us balanced between the extremes of presumption and scrupulosity. These two, then, are extremes that the devil can exploit in mocking these five great sacraments.
Let us look at the first extreme deeper, presumption; a firmer, self-assuming extreme with five dimensions of haughtiness. The presumptuous persons are hard headed, which is good, but they have also hardened their hearts, which is bad. This is the hard right: Hard headed, hard-hearted. They are the Pharisees. This is the haughty heretic who presumes immunity from the five:
The Presumptuous Heretic
Confession: I have no need of it, for no true believer can fall from grace. If they do, they never knew God to begin with. Or else, I can sin with impunity.
Anointing of the Sick: Modified perseverance: here, the hardened heretic admits that fall from grace might be possible temporarily, but believes that, in the end, God will guarantee his restoration and save him. In effect, this nullifies the Anointing of the Sick.
Confirmation: The hardened heretic presumes that God wants him saved, regardless of anything else, and that it is guaranteed. He presumes he is chosen and elect and hence presumes he needs no special graces like Confirmation to persevere. That is, he considers himself "confirmed in righteousness" and therefore does not retain healthy fear of necessity to persevere, that salvation is it not guaranteed. He scoffs at Catholic confirmation.
Holy Orders: The haughty heretic is certain Rome is an impostor yet has no cowering fear as he reads the fearful Scriptures. He assumes with exaggerated pride and confidence that the Spirit truly leads him privately to understand all Scripture and so proceeds to go out in the field and sow the word, assuming that he is a man of God for sure and casually dismisses any doubt that he is in fact only one of many sola-scripturists who think they understand Scripture in all fullness, yet no two of which, including himself in the mix, can fully agree on all questions of doctrine.
Holy Communion: Ditto, he assumes his particular community must be the true church, while ignoring that no objective formal criterion can really distinguish it from the myriads of other such communities that altogether, again, mutually disagree on a whole host of doctrinal issues.
Let us look at the other extreme: the scared heretic, the overly scrupulous, who is not culpable.
The Innocent, Scrupulous Heretic
This is the innocent heretic. His heart is soft, so he realizes perpetual need for repentance and dependence on God. But the Scriptures, without Rome's stable Tradition, have left fearful uncertain answers by their harsh hyperbole to the five dimensions above, as follows:
Confession: On the one hand, the heretic fears that if you fall from grace, there is no remedy; you are lost forever. Some heretics believe this. Others say, you can fall from grace but can get it back, but their opinions differ as to precisely how you might lose grace, much less how to get it back. Some say, it is not so much sin but lack of faith. Others, a lesser group, say any wrongdoing, even minor, cuts you off. Others say, you have to stop trying to follow God but are not specific. To get it back, some say, just resume fiducial trust in Christ to cover you. Others say, start trying again. Others say, you must also turn away from the wrong doing. Some are tortured, “have I really, really, really repented, or am I fooling myself?” Others deny you can fall from grace but say that if you ever do, you never knew God to begin with. This can lead to despair and abandonment of faith, thinking, “If all that time, I seemed to love God, and yet I didn’t, then what is true love and faith?”
Anointing: Scripture seems to suggest unforgivable sins:
Hebrews 6: There is no remedy for apostasy. “For it is impossible for those who have once tasted...if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance...”
Apocalypse: The mark of the beast, “And the smoke of their torment shall rise forever and ever!”
Matthew: Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit: many Christian counselors must have a training for this, for fearful despairing souls who come in because they think they have committed the unforgivable sin.
James: St James says, whoever swears is damned if he breaks it. No supplemental info is given.
Then, in this horror, if a soul believes that he is unforgivable, the rest of his life is now an evening waiting for damnation, no matter how hard he pleads with God. It is, in a certain sense, an “anointing unto damnation” rather than anointing of the sick. Hence, some Calvinists who have presumed election have said to a poor soul, Well, since you are now damned with no hope, perhaps you should take up your anointing unto damnation and eat, drink, fornicate, and be merry, for when you die, you go into eternal fire!”
Confirmation: Calvinism argues that God does not want all men saved. Hence God would not offer the Sacrament of Confirmation since, as it is available to all members of the Church who are ready for it and desire it, and it is a gracious gift of God to strengthen the person for the ultimate calls of faith, even martyrdom, it would clearly imply a Divine Resolve to save all men. Hence, the terrible torture of an innocent Calvinist is to suspect that God doesn't desire their election, that they are damned. This can arise especially if they are struggling with some sin or sins and failing, a sign that God is not with them and is abandoning them to reprobation. Think of the horror of being told by an "elect" Calvinist that you are not elect, tough luck, God didn't choose you!
Holy Orders: The innocent heretic does not trust Rome or her other Bishops because of their sins and laxity. So he fears Rome; he cannot go there; they are imposters, the whore, the beast; they are the antichrist. But now, then, without them, and the stability of Tradition, the heretic enters the arena of myriads of competing men and factions, all hell fire and brimstone, claiming to speak for God, but all mutually conflicting. What must he do? He must search the Scriptures in fear, cowering in humility until he thinks he has found all truth. But pray, for if you misinterpret because of your sins, you will perish! That is torture. That is the fearful reality of not knowing for sure who really is a man of God and who isn’t!
Holy Communion: Ditto, Calvin taught that at any age of history, there is guaranteed to be at least one community that fully correctly interprets the Word, but where it is, no one knows! You can only hope you find it. But if you don’t and join even a partially erroneous community, you will perish!
Here, the heretic is soft in heart, humble, having fear of God, but also soft and weak in mind, for they are tossed from one extreme to another, having a gravity of fear Christ does not will; for He desires all of His Father’s children to have the stability of the Church, that their hearts may rest, not fully presumptuously, but in loving trust, balance, having certitude of belief and what is home, and so forth.
Recapping: five loaves--loaves require barley--which are grown in the earth. The earth is the ground of truth, the church of the living God. The Bishops and Tradition are this ground, for they preserve the truth through their Apostolic Tradition. Too, five sacraments require their Episcopate.
Now, loaves sometimes also need eggs. Now Jesus said, what father would give you a stone for a bread, or a scorpion for an egg. In these five sacraments, if a fearful heretic asks a presumptuous heretic for one of these five loaves, they will be given a heart of stone, “Rome invented them; there are no such sacraments.” The innocent heretics too petition them for eggs, graces and truth related to the five sacraments. They are given scorpions of torture.
Profound this is, if we look once again at Apocalypse 9, the first great woe, trumpet five, the first half of chapter 9:
Creatures like locusts have tails like scorpions and torture those without the Seal of God for five months. They are not killed, but they approach death. This is highly reminiscent of the presumptuous heretics of Protestantism that tortured innocent heretics in five dimensions, for each of the five sacraments they deprived their innocent victims of.
But Catholics who are faithful have always been sealed in the forehead, for behind their forehead is their mind, the intellect of the soul, which is preserved from harm by false doctrine; for the Catholic Church is infallible in her teaching! She cannot be harmed by false doctrine.