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Author Topic: what does the bible say about the toll houses?  (Read 1876 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: January 14, 2013, 09:15:31 PM »

did jesus speak about them?
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« Reply #1 on: January 14, 2013, 09:27:02 PM »

The only time He spoke about tolls was when he said to render to Caesar what is Caesar's.
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« Reply #2 on: January 14, 2013, 09:30:08 PM »

NVM!
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« Reply #3 on: January 14, 2013, 09:33:03 PM »

tollhouses are cookies. 
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« Reply #4 on: January 14, 2013, 09:51:43 PM »

Not a thing.
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« Reply #5 on: January 14, 2013, 10:05:25 PM »

tollhouses are cookies. 

The shortbread ones. I like them.
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« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2013, 10:57:22 PM »

Not very much to be honest. On the other hand though, most of the Fathers do in fact speak of some period of judgment and/or possible purification during the period between our death and the Resurrection--however, the modern toll-house theory is overkill and seems very heretical. Some of the main issues I have with it is that it seems to undermine God's Grace--we are all alone and have to stand amongst a feud between Angels and Demons without any way of truly pleading unto God Himself before being condemned. It's like the entire concept of Grace and forgiveness just disappears. Secondly, it assumes that God would permit demons to judge us--but that goes against everything else in the faith. God is the only judge. So that being said, I think it is fair to say that during the period between our death and Resurection, something probably will happen involving judgment, but I think that God will be more involved in it and that the tollhouse theory is overkill.
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2013, 11:25:04 PM »

Not very much to be honest. On the other hand though, most of the Fathers do in fact speak of some period of judgment and/or possible purification during the period between our death and the Resurrection--however, the modern toll-house theory is overkill and seems very heretical. Some of the main issues I have with it is that it seems to undermine God's Grace--we are all alone and have to stand amongst a feud between Angels and Demons without any way of truly pleading unto God Himself before being condemned. It's like the entire concept of Grace and forgiveness just disappears. Secondly, it assumes that God would permit demons to judge us--but that goes against everything else in the faith. God is the only judge. So that being said, I think it is fair to say that during the period between our death and Resurection, something probably will happen involving judgment, but I think that God will be more involved in it and that the tollhouse theory is overkill.

I agree.
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« Reply #8 on: January 15, 2013, 02:33:55 PM »

NVM!
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« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2013, 12:53:10 PM »

Nothing I've ever seen or heard of.
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« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2013, 03:55:48 PM »

The Bible speaks of the first & final judgments, but it is the Church Fathers who explained more:

-State of the Soul After Death According to the Teachings of Saint John Damascene
-Our War is not Against Flesh and Blood (On the Question of the "Toll-Houses") by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
-Life After Death: A Description of the First 40 Days After Death by Saint John Maximovitch

To take the toll houses as literal toll houses are going too far, but this describes howe the demons accuse us, as lawyers, just like our guardian angel defends us, but God alone judges us.
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« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2013, 04:41:34 PM »

The Bible speaks of the first & final judgments, but it is the Church Fathers who explained more:

-State of the Soul After Death According to the Teachings of Saint John Damascene
-Our War is not Against Flesh and Blood (On the Question of the "Toll-Houses") by Protopresbyter Michael Pomazansky
-Life After Death: A Description of the First 40 Days After Death by Saint John Maximovitch

To take the toll houses as literal toll houses are going too far, but this describes howe the demons accuse us, as lawyers, just like our guardian angel defends us, but God alone judges us.

The conclusion of the first essay makes it sound as if toll houses were a doctrine of the Church and accepted throughout Orthodoxy--which they are not, afaik.  I've always been led to believe that they are but a theologoumenon.

Be that as it may, the fact of the matter is that the Bible says nothing about them, which is the original question.
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« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2013, 05:15:59 PM »

Satan is called the Prince of the Power of the Air, in reference to demonic aerial powers:

Ephesians 2:1-3

And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2013, 05:20:18 PM »

Jesus toll Lazarus to get up and walk.
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2013, 05:27:13 PM »

Jesus toll Lazarus to get up and walk.

 Roll Eyes Roll Eyes
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« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2013, 05:55:42 PM »

The toll-houses don't bother me, the only thing about them that bothers me is the concept that Angels and Demons will be the ones to judge me. The fact that God seems so distant in this concept is frightening to me, and it seems like the concept of Angels/Demons judging me undermines the mercy of God. If demons and angels want to tempt me, take me to all these places and accuse me and all this crap, I don't mind, but is it so much to ask for that God judges me and not them?
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« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2013, 05:59:55 PM »

Jesus toll Lazarus to get up and walk.

That was such a baud joke I thought it might be my internet connection  Kiss
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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2013, 06:14:03 PM »

The toll-houses don't bother me, the only thing about them that bothers me is the concept that Angels and Demons will be the ones to judge me. The fact that God seems so distant in this concept is frightening to me, and it seems like the concept of Angels/Demons judging me undermines the mercy of God. If demons and angels want to tempt me, take me to all these places and accuse me and all this crap, I don't mind, but is it so much to ask for that God judges me and not them?

That is the thing, the demons and angels are more like lawyers, not judges.
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« Reply #18 on: January 22, 2013, 01:58:15 PM »

The toll-houses don't bother me, the only thing about them that bothers me is the concept that Angels and Demons will be the ones to judge me. The fact that God seems so distant in this concept is frightening to me, and it seems like the concept of Angels/Demons judging me undermines the mercy of God. If demons and angels want to tempt me, take me to all these places and accuse me and all this crap, I don't mind, but is it so much to ask for that God judges me and not them?

God's judgement is the only one that counts.  And don't worry---He *will* judge you.
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« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2013, 02:19:26 PM »

The Bible speaks of the first & final judgments, but it is the Church Fathers who explained more:

-State of the Soul After Death According to the Teachings of Saint John Damascene

How interesting that this article didn't even cite one of the acknowledged works of St. John of Damascus.
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« Reply #20 on: January 22, 2013, 07:33:49 PM »

The toll-houses don't bother me, the only thing about them that bothers me is the concept that Angels and Demons will be the ones to judge me. The fact that God seems so distant in this concept is frightening to me, and it seems like the concept of Angels/Demons judging me undermines the mercy of God. If demons and angels want to tempt me, take me to all these places and accuse me and all this crap, I don't mind, but is it so much to ask for that God judges me and not them?

That is the thing, the demons and angels are more like lawyers, not judges.
Where did this idea originate that demons and angels take this role after death?
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« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2013, 07:54:24 PM »

The toll-houses don't bother me, the only thing about them that bothers me is the concept that Angels and Demons will be the ones to judge me. The fact that God seems so distant in this concept is frightening to me, and it seems like the concept of Angels/Demons judging me undermines the mercy of God. If demons and angels want to tempt me, take me to all these places and accuse me and all this crap, I don't mind, but is it so much to ask for that God judges me and not them?

That is the thing, the demons and angels are more like lawyers, not judges.
Where did this idea originate that demons and angels take this role after death?

According to some it was gnosticism. According to others it was stories from the medieval church. According to still others it was always taught by the Church. I have to say, if it's this last one, well then that's a fine example of development of doctrine that we Orthodox have there  angel
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« Reply #22 on: January 22, 2013, 11:24:23 PM »

The toll-houses don't bother me, the only thing about them that bothers me is the concept that Angels and Demons will be the ones to judge me. The fact that God seems so distant in this concept is frightening to me, and it seems like the concept of Angels/Demons judging me undermines the mercy of God. If demons and angels want to tempt me, take me to all these places and accuse me and all this crap, I don't mind, but is it so much to ask for that God judges me and not them?

God's judgement is the only one that counts.  And don't worry---He *will* judge you.

I'm actually looking forward to His judgment; it'll finally be the moment when I can apologize and maybe learn something about how I lived my life.
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« Reply #23 on: January 23, 2013, 01:12:38 PM »

The toll-houses don't bother me, the only thing about them that bothers me is the concept that Angels and Demons will be the ones to judge me. The fact that God seems so distant in this concept is frightening to me, and it seems like the concept of Angels/Demons judging me undermines the mercy of God. If demons and angels want to tempt me, take me to all these places and accuse me and all this crap, I don't mind, but is it so much to ask for that God judges me and not them?

God's judgement is the only one that counts.  And don't worry---He *will* judge you.

I'm actually looking forward to His judgment; it'll finally be the moment when I can apologize and maybe learn something about how I lived my life.

The time to "apologize", i.e., to repent, is **before** the Judgment.  Pay close attention to what you do and say and think moment to moment (as much as you are able), and you'll learn something about how you are living your life *now*.
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« Reply #24 on: January 23, 2013, 01:26:25 PM »

Well, another mystery is also that St. Paul alludes to the saints of the Church also becoming judges, even of angels:

Quote from: 1 Corinthians 6
If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!
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« Reply #25 on: January 23, 2013, 02:22:31 PM »

The toll-houses don't bother me, the only thing about them that bothers me is the concept that Angels and Demons will be the ones to judge me. The fact that God seems so distant in this concept is frightening to me, and it seems like the concept of Angels/Demons judging me undermines the mercy of God. If demons and angels want to tempt me, take me to all these places and accuse me and all this crap, I don't mind, but is it so much to ask for that God judges me and not them?

That is the thing, the demons and angels are more like lawyers, not judges.

This is a very important point.  I find that critics of the toll-house teaching approach this subject with a literalist Protestant fundamentalist mentality which typically doesn't characterize their approach to other subjects within Orthodox theology.  For instance, Protestants are so afraid to detract from the glory due to God that they completely ignore, and even protest against, the role that God has given to the saints and angels in the economy of our salvation.  Saints and angels are not to be worshiped as God, but God Himself has given them a role to play.  Our guardian angel has been given to us by God Himself to help and protect us, and the saints and angels may intercede for us before God.  The fact that they have such roles, and the fact that we acknowledge their roles, does not mean that we therefore put all of our hope in the saints and angels and forget about God.  It also does not mean that the saints and angels save us rather than God. 

Similarly, with regard to the so-called toll-house teaching, the Lord himself speaks of angels carrying the soul away at the time of death.  In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the Lord says that "So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22)."  In the story of the rich fool who stored up treasure and then died, the Lord said, "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided (Luke 12:20)?'"  In this text, "required" could also be translated "demanded".  The Fathers have pointed out that this "demanded" refers to the fact that while angels carry the souls of those pleasing to God to Paradise, demons carry away the souls of those who are not fit for the kingdom of heaven.  This is just to point out that the angels and demons have a role to play in carrying out the particular judgment after the separation of the soul and body.  To recognize that they have this role affirms rather than denies the Scriptures, and affirms the way in which God has chosen for our judgment occur rather than denying God's role in judging us.  As with much of Orthodox teaching, it is not a matter of "either/or", but "both".  The Particular Judgment is not the Final Judgment, neither is God absent from the Particular Judgment just because the angels and demons have a role to play.

It is true that the Scriptures do not spell out with great clarity what the soul encounters after its separation from the body.  There is actually a great deal that the Scriptures do not spell out in great detail, but which the Fathers explain more completely later.  To expect the Scriptures to spell out everything in great detail is to have a Protestant rather than an Orthodox understanding of the Scriptures, their purpose, their function, and their role in the life of the Church.  Any attempt to invalidate Tradition by using one's own view of what the Scriptures say, or to consign to "theolgoumena" a teaching that is found throughout the patristic literature, hagiography, hymnography, etc. just because someone doesn't like it or understand how this teaching relates to Scripture - this approach is not an Orthodox but a Protestant one. 

The Scriptures themselves testify that "the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2:14)."  To rightly understand the Scriptures one must first become a dwelling place of the same Spirit that inspired the Scriptures.  In other words, the proper interpretation is known only to the deified.  It is from the deified saints, not simply by their written words, but from their recorded experiences and from what God revealed to them, that the teaching regarding the toll-houses has come down to us.  The Church has used this imagery in its  hymnography, and the Church throughout the world has testified to this teaching by singing and chanting this hymnography with one accord. 

The problem with this teaching in Orthodoxy in America has mostly to do with certain argumentative people who wanted to start a fight about this at a time when much of the hymnography, hagiography, and patristic writings were not available in English.  This was also a time when certain persons in a certain jurisdiction were trying to make a name for themselves, trying to set themselves up as teachers, and trying to lead others into their own factions.  They attempted to do so by denouncing this teaching as "gnostic heresy", so as to exalt themselves as "pillars of Orthodoxy".  These early critics have all came to a shameful end, but sadly it is true that flies are still attracted to manure.  Not wanting to come also to a shameful end, it is best not to imitate their shameful beginning, but to trust in the teachings of the Fathers that have come down to us on this subject.
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« Reply #26 on: January 23, 2013, 04:20:10 PM »

Well, another mystery is also that St. Paul alludes to the saints of the Church also becoming judges, even of angels:

Quote from: 1 Corinthians 6
If any of you has a dispute with another, do you dare to take it before the ungodly for judgment instead of before the Lord’s people? 2 Or do you not know that the Lord’s people will judge the world? And if you are to judge the world, are you not competent to judge trivial cases? 3 Do you not know that we will judge angels? How much more the things of this life! 4 Therefore, if you have disputes about such matters, do you ask for a ruling from those whose way of life is scorned in the church? 5 I say this to shame you. Is it possible that there is nobody among you wise enough to judge a dispute between believers? 6 But instead, one brother takes another to court—and this in front of unbelievers!

This interests me as well. One thought is that perhaps St. Paul means that the Saints will judge the world in the sense that when God judges us, we will be compared to the standard that they set. That by them living such righteous lives of faith, they are--in a sense--judging and/or condemning the world by showing the world an example, and most of the world still refuses to follow it.
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« Reply #27 on: January 23, 2013, 04:35:53 PM »

The toll-houses don't bother me, the only thing about them that bothers me is the concept that Angels and Demons will be the ones to judge me. The fact that God seems so distant in this concept is frightening to me, and it seems like the concept of Angels/Demons judging me undermines the mercy of God. If demons and angels want to tempt me, take me to all these places and accuse me and all this crap, I don't mind, but is it so much to ask for that God judges me and not them?

That is the thing, the demons and angels are more like lawyers, not judges.

This is a very important point.  I find that critics of the toll-house teaching approach this subject with a literalist Protestant fundamentalist mentality which typically doesn't characterize their approach to other subjects within Orthodox theology.  For instance, Protestants are so afraid to detract from the glory due to God that they completely ignore, and even protest against, the role that God has given to the saints and angels in the economy of our salvation.  Saints and angels are not to be worshiped as God, but God Himself has given them a role to play.  Our guardian angel has been given to us by God Himself to help and protect us, and the saints and angels may intercede for us before God.  The fact that they have such roles, and the fact that we acknowledge their roles, does not mean that we therefore put all of our hope in the saints and angels and forget about God.  It also does not mean that the saints and angels save us rather than God. 

Similarly, with regard to the so-called toll-house teaching, the Lord himself speaks of angels carrying the soul away at the time of death.  In the story of the rich man and Lazarus, the Lord says that "So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham's bosom (Luke 16:22)."  In the story of the rich fool who stored up treasure and then died, the Lord said, "But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided (Luke 12:20)?'"  In this text, "required" could also be translated "demanded".  The Fathers have pointed out that this "demanded" refers to the fact that while angels carry the souls of those pleasing to God to Paradise, demons carry away the souls of those who are not fit for the kingdom of heaven.  This is just to point out that the angels and demons have a role to play in carrying out the particular judgment after the separation of the soul and body.  To recognize that they have this role affirms rather than denies the Scriptures, and affirms the way in which God has chosen for our judgment occur rather than denying God's role in judging us.  As with much of Orthodox teaching, it is not a matter of "either/or", but "both".  The Particular Judgment is not the Final Judgment, neither is God absent from the Particular Judgment just because the angels and demons have a role to play.

It is true that the Scriptures do not spell out with great clarity what the soul encounters after its separation from the body.  There is actually a great deal that the Scriptures do not spell out in great detail, but which the Fathers explain more completely later.  To expect the Scriptures to spell out everything in great detail is to have a Protestant rather than an Orthodox understanding of the Scriptures, their purpose, their function, and their role in the life of the Church.  Any attempt to invalidate Tradition by using one's own view of what the Scriptures say, or to consign to "theolgoumena" a teaching that is found throughout the patristic literature, hagiography, hymnography, etc. just because someone doesn't like it or understand how this teaching relates to Scripture - this approach is not an Orthodox but a Protestant one. 

The Scriptures themselves testify that "the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor 2:14)."  To rightly understand the Scriptures one must first become a dwelling place of the same Spirit that inspired the Scriptures.  In other words, the proper interpretation is known only to the deified.  It is from the deified saints, not simply by their written words, but from their recorded experiences and from what God revealed to them, that the teaching regarding the toll-houses has come down to us.  The Church has used this imagery in its  hymnography, and the Church throughout the world has testified to this teaching by singing and chanting this hymnography with one accord. 

The problem with this teaching in Orthodoxy in America has mostly to do with certain argumentative people who wanted to start a fight about this at a time when much of the hymnography, hagiography, and patristic writings were not available in English.  This was also a time when certain persons in a certain jurisdiction were trying to make a name for themselves, trying to set themselves up as teachers, and trying to lead others into their own factions.  They attempted to do so by denouncing this teaching as "gnostic heresy", so as to exalt themselves as "pillars of Orthodoxy".  These early critics have all came to a shameful end, but sadly it is true that flies are still attracted to manure.  Not wanting to come also to a shameful end, it is best not to imitate their shameful beginning, but to trust in the teachings of the Fathers that have come down to us on this subject.

I found this reply, minus the last paragraph, to be one of the most cogent defenses of this theory. However, because of the inclusion of the last paragraph, I have to consign it to the dust bin of polemics. Too bad.
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