The Saints in Paradise are the triumphant members of the same one church, which is the one Body of Jesus Christ, in which we are the striving members. The triumphant members become invisible members because of the death of their bodies, and then we, the striving, are the visible ones. The death of their bodies does not sever the bond of mutual love between them and us; on the contrary, it increases in depth and strength. Their prayers for the salvation of the entire world never cease. They pray for us, and we venerate them as they are our holy and dear friends.
We have only one intercessor for propitiation, that is Our Savior Jesus Christ, as St. John says, “If anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1John 2:1). The Apostle Paul also says, “For there is one God and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus” (1Tim 2:5). On the other hand, we have many intercessors who pray to God for us. The intercessions of angels and saints for us are merely a pleading type of prayer. This intercession is completely different to Christ’s atoning mediation.
Our belief in the saints’ intercession is biblical, as it appears from the following points:
According to the Lord’s saying, saints who departed are still alive (Luke 20:37,38; Matt 22:32; Mark 12:26). In addition, Moses and Elijah appeared at Jesus’ transfiguration (Luke 9:28-33).
God disclosed many secrets concerning the future of His men in both the Old and the New Testaments (Acts 20:22, 23, 29, 30; 2 Pet 1:14). No wonder that He reveals our conditions to the saints who are in Paradise. Therefore Abraham knew that Moses and other prophets had come (Luke 16; 29-31), and those who are in heaven rejoice for the repentance of a sinner (Luke 15:7-10).
The believers who departed have a kind of privilege before God, therefore the Lord blessed Isaac for the sake of Abraham his father (Gen 26:5), and He was gracious to Israel and had compassion on them because of His covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (2 kings 13:23).
We, the striving members, ask for the intercessions of the saints, as Jacob did when he asked for the intercessions of his grandfather Abraham and his father Isaac (Gen 32:9). Moses asked for the intercession of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (Exodus 32:13)
The Holy Scriptures declare many times that God requests people to ask the intercession of the righteous. For example:
The request to pray for one another is countless in the Holy Bible (James 5:13; 2Thess 3:1; Heb 13:18; Eph 6:18, 19). And if these saints ask us to pray for them, shall we not ask them to pray for us? If we ask the prayers of human beings, is it too much to ask the prayers of the angels?
He asked for Abraham’s intercession and made it a condition for forgiving Abimelech (Gen 20:7).
He conditioned the intercession and prayer of Job for his three friends so that He would forgive them (Job 42:7,8).
In both events God Himself spoke to the erring person. However, He did not grant him forgiveness directly but conditioned the forgiveness to the prayer of the saint for the
sinner so that the sinner might receive forgiveness and the saint would be venerated in the eyes of people. So, God not only accepts this mediation but rather asks for it.
The Lord presented to Abraham the subject of Sodom (Gen 18:17) and gave him the opportunity to intercede for its people. The mere fact that the Lord would not destroy the city for the sake of the righteous who lived in it gives us an idea not only of Abraham’s dignity but also of the dignity of those righteous in front of the Lord (Gen 18:26-32). The phrase “for the sake of…” signifies that God saves persons for the sake of others; and it is also a clear proof of the mediation of the righteous for the sake of sinners. The Lord accepts this mediation without the
beneficiaries asking for it.
The intercession of Mosses for the people of Israel when God willed to destroy them because they worshipped the golden calf (Exodus 32:7-14).