My beloved brothers and sisters in Christ God,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE.
THE UNIVERSAL JUDGMENT: THE KINGDOM OF GLORY
"Then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom
to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule, and
authority and power. For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies
under His feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed IS DEATH…
And when all things shall be subdued unto Him (the Father) then
shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things
under Him, that God may be all in all" (1 Corinthians 15:24-26, 28).
These words concerning the END of the Kingdom of Christ must be understood AS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE SON’S MISSION, which He accepted from the Father, and which consists of the conducting of mankind to God through the Church. Then the Son WILL REIGN IN THE KINGDOM OF GLORY TOGETHER WITH THE FATHER AND THE HOLY SPIRIT, and "of His Kingdom, there shall be no end," as the Archangel announced to the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:33), and as we read in the Symbol of Faith (Creed): "AND HIS KINGDOM WILL HAVE NO END." Saint Cyril of Jerusalem says of this: "For will not He Who reigned before overthrowing his enemies, reign all the more after He has conquered them" (Catechetical Lectures).
DEATH will have NO POWER in the Kingdom of Glory. "The LAST ENEMY that shall be destroyed is death… Then shall be brought to pass the saving that is written, DEATH IS SWALLOWED UP IN VICTORY" (I Corinthians 15:26, 54). "There shall be time NO LONGER" (Revelation 10:6).
The Eternal blessed life is presented vividly in the 21st Chapter of the Revelation (Apocalypse): "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth, were passed away: and there was no more sea" (Revelation 21:1). IN THE FUTURE KINDOM EVERYTHING WILL BE SPIRITUALIZED, IMMORTAL AND HOLY.
But the chief thing is that those who attain the future blessed life and become "PARTAKERS OF THE DIVINE NATURE" (2 Peter 1:4), WILL BE PARTICIPANTS IN THAT MOST PERFECT LIFE, WHOSE SOURCE ISIN GOD ALONE. In particular, the future members of the Kingdom of God will be vouchsafed like the Angels, to "SEE GOD" (Matthew 5:8), to BEHOLD HIS GLORY NOT AS THROUGH A DARK GLASS, NOT BY MEANS OF CONJECTURES, BUT FACE TO FACE. And not only will they behold this glory, but THEY THEMSELVES WILL BE"PARTAKERS" OF IT, SHINING LIKE THE SUN IN THE Kingdom of their Father (Matthew 13:43), being "FELLOW HEIRS" with Christ, sitting with Christ on a throne and sharing with Him the Royal Grandeur (Revelation 3:21), Romans 8:17; 2 Timothy 2:11-12).
As is symbolically depicted in Revelation, "they shall HUNGER NO MORE, neither THIRST ANY MORE, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne SHALL FEED THE, AND SHALL LEAD THEM UNTO LIVING FOUNTAINS OF WATERS; and God shall WIPE AWAY ALL TEARS FROM THEIR EYES" (Revelation 7:16-17). As the Prophet Isaiah says: "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath PREPARED FOR THEM THAT LOVE HIM" (Isaiah 64:4; 1 Corinthians 2:9).
Blessedness in God will be all the more desirable in that IT WILL BE ETERNAL, WITHOUT END: "THE RIGHTEOUS SHALL (GO) INTO LIFE ETERNAL" (Matthew 25:46).
However, this glory in God, in the thought of the Holy Fathers of the Church, will have ITS DEGREES, CORRESPONDING TO THE MORAL DIGNITY OF EACH ONE. One may conclude this also from the words of the Holy Scripture: "In My Father’s house are many mansions" (John 14:2); "He shall reward every man ACCORDING TO HIS WORKS" (Matthew 16:17); "every man SHALL RECEIVE HIS OWN REWARD ACCORDING TO HIS OWN LABOR" (1 Corinthians 3:8); "ONE STAR DIFFERETH FROM ANOTHER STAR IN GLORY" (I Corinthians 15:41).
Saint Ephraim the Syrian states: "Just as everyone takes enjoyment of the rays of the sensual sun according to the purity of his power of seeing and of the impressions that are given, and just as a single lamp which illumines a house each ray has its place, while the light is not divided into many lamps, so also in the FUTURE AGE ALL THE RIGHTEOUS WILL DWELL INSEPARABLY IN A SINGLE JOY, BUT EACH IN HIS OWN DEGREE WILL BE ILLUMINATED BY THE SINGLE MENTAL SUN, AND TO THE DEGREE OF HIS WORTH HE WILL DRAW IN JOY AN REJOICING AS IF IN A SINGLE ATMOSPHERE AND PLACE, AND NO ONE WILL SEE THE DEGREES THAT ARE HIGHER AND LOWER, LEST LOOKING ON THE SURPASSING GRACE OF ANOTHER AND UPON HIS OWN DEPRIVATION, HE WILL THEREBY HAVE SOME CAUSE IN HIMSELF FOR SORROW AND DISTURBANCE. MAY THIS NOT BE THERE, WHERE THERE IS NEITHER SORROW NOR SIGHING; BUT EVERYONE ACCORDING TO THE GRACE PROPER TO HIM IN HIS MEASURE WILL REJOICE INWARDLY, WHILE OUTWARDLY ALL WILL HAVE A SINGLE CONTEMPLATION AND A SINGLE JOY" (Saint Ephraim the Syrian, On the Heavenly Mansions).
Let us conclude this exposition of the truths of the Orthodox Christian Faith with the words of Metropolitan Macarius of Moscow at the end of his long course in dogmatic theology: "Grant to us, O Lord, to all of us always, the living and undying memory of Thy future glorious Coming. They final terrible judgment upon us, Thy most righteous and eternal giving of rewards to the righteous and to sinners–that in its light and with the help of Thy grace "we should live soberly and righteously and godly in this present world" (Titus 2:12), and thus we might attain finally to the Eternal blessed life in heaven, so that with all our being we might glorify Thee, together with Thine Unoriginate Father, and Thy Most Holy and Good and Life-Giving Spirit, unto the ages of ages" (Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, vol. 2. p. 674). [Source: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Father Michael Pomazansky]
"Glory Be To GOD
– Saint John Chrysostomos
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With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia (Ministry),
The sinner and unworthy servant of God