My beloved spiritual brothers and sisters in Our Risen Christ,
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
Χριστός Ανέστη! Αληθώς Ανέστη!
Glory to His third-day Resurrection.
Προσκυνούμε Αυτού τήν τριήμερον έγερσιν.
Christ is risen from the dead, trampling Death by
death, and bestowing life to those in the tombs.
Χριστός Ανέστη έκ νεκρών, θανάτω θάνατον πατήσας,
και τοίς έν τοίς μνήμασι, ζωήν χαρισάμενος.
"The Angel cried out to the one full of Grace ‘Rejoice Holy Virgin,
and again I say, Rejoice! Your Son has risen from the Tomb on the
Shine, shine, the New Jerusalem! For the Glory of the Lord has
dawned upon You. Rejoice now and be glad, O Zion; and You,
O All-Pure Theotokos, delight in the Resurrection of Him, to
Whom You gave birth."
Most Orthodox Christians are always asking questions concerning the universal resurrection of the dead. Concerning the resurrection of the dead, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ offers the true answer. He says, "The hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation" ( St. John 5:28-29).
The holy Apostle Paul taught the people the certainty of the truth of the resurrection in his first epistle to the Corinthians 15:13-15, "If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen; and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, Whom He raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not… But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept… For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all made alive."
According to our Holy Orthodox Church, the resurrection of the dead will be universal and simultaneous, both of the RIGHTEOUS and of SINNERS. ALL THE DEAD "SHALL COME FORTH: THEY THAT HAVE DONE GOOD UNTO THE RESURRECTION OF LIFE; AND THEY THAT HAVE DONE EVIL UNTO THE RESURRECTION OF DAMNATION" (St. John 5:29). "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust" (Acts 24:15). Also, "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father"– are words by the Lord only of the righteous (St. Matthew 13:43). Saint Ephraim the Syrian stated in his sermon "On the Fear of God and the Last Judgment", "Some WILL RESEMBLE LIGHT, AND OTHERS DARKNESS."
From everything that the Almighty God has revealed to us, one must conclude that the resurrected bodies will be ESSENTIALLY the same ones that belonged to their souls in this earthly life. Saint Paul writes, "This corruptible must put on incorruption, and THIS MORTAL MUST PUT ON IMMORTALITY" (1 Corinthians 15:53). They will be completely FREE FROM WEAKNESS AND FROM THE INFIRMITIES OF THE PRESENT LIFE. They will BE SPIRITUAL, HEAVENLY, NOT HAVING EARTHLY, BODILY NEEDS. Life after the resurrection will be like THE LIFE OF THE FLESHLESS SPIRITS, THE ANGELS, ACCORDING TO THE WORD OF THE LORD (St. Luke 20:36). As for unrepentant sinners, their bodies also without any doubt will rise IN A NEW FORM, BUT WHILE CONCEIVING AN INCORRUPT AND SPIRITUAL NATURE, AT THE SAME TIME THEY WILL EXPRESS IN THEMSELVES THE CONDITION OF THEIR SOULS." (Dogmatic Theology)
It is true that there is much curiosity about the universal resurrection from our Orthodox faithful, but we are limited to what we know and, of course, there are many questions that cannot be answered. It is not appropriate to speculate and make up our own conceptions and imaginings. What is urgent and necessary is for the ordinary Christian to commit, as much as possible, of his or her life here on earth, to improve one’s spiritual life in Christ. To live Christ daily, to grow in the Spirit, to develop and practice his/her a life of virtue and the Christian precepts, to abide by the commandments of Christ, to be moral and have self-respect, to be as much compassionate and determined to help the needy, to be truthful and repent of his/her sins, to reconcile with his/her enemies. We must always remember that we are accountable to the Almighty God for all things i.e., our thoughts, feelings, and actions. We must all take extremely seriously that the Universal Judgment will be conducted by the Heavenly and Divine Judge Christ God who will judge all men living and dead, good and evil, even the fallen angels themselves (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6). The result of the Judgment will be eternal reward, BLESSEDNESS for the righteous and TORMENT for the evil who are CONDEMNED. "He shall reward every man according to his works" (St. Matthew 16:27); "every man shall receive his own reward according to his own labor" (1 Corinthians 3:8). "And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and BOOKS WERE OPENED, which is, THE BOOK OF LIFE. AND THE DEAD WERE JUDGED ACCORDING TO THEIR WORKS, BY THE THINGS WHICH WERE WRITTEN IN THE BOOKS" (Revelation 20:12). "THE BOOKS" contain a record of men’s own deeds; "THEIR OWN WORKS WILL JUDGE THEM" (Psalm 62:12; Jeremiah 17:10). Our Holy Orthodox Divine Liturgy thus petitions God for a "GOOD ACCOUNT BEFORE THE DREADFUL JUDGMENT SEAT OF CHRIST."
CHRIST IS RISEN! TRULY HE IS RISEN!
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in Our Risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God
+ Father George