My beloved spiritual children in Christ Our Only True God and Our Only True Savior,
CHRIST IS IN OUR MIDST! HE WAS, IS, AND EVER SHALL BE. Ο ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ ΕΝ ΤΩ ΜΕΣΩ ΗΜΩΝ! ΚΑΙ ΗΝ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΙ ΚΑΙ ΕΣΤΑΙ.
THE SUNDAY OF THE LAST JUDGMENT (Meat-Fare Sunday)
THE RESURRECTION OF THE DEAD (1 Corinthians, Chapter 15)
The certainty of the truth of the resurrection and the importance of the belief in the resurrection were expressed by the Apostle Paul in the following: "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. Yea, 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 first-fruits of them that slept...For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive" (1 Corinthians 15:13-15, 20, 22).
The resurrection of the dead will be universal and simultaneous, both of 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; these are the words of Apostle Paul before the governor Felix). If the same Apostle in another place (1 Corinthians ch. 15, likewise I Thes. ch. 4), speaking of the resurrection of sinners, this evidently because his direct purpose is to strengthen faith of the Christians themselves in their future resurrection in Christ. However, there is no doubt that the appearance or form of the resurrected righteous will be different from that of resurrected sinners: "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father"--are words spoken by the Lord only of the righteous (St. Matthew 13:43). "Some will resemble light, and others darkness," reflects Saint Ephraim the Syrian on this passage (Homily "On the Fear of God and the Last Judgment"),
From the Word of God one must conclude that the resurrected bodies will be essentially the same ones that belonged to their souls in this earthly life: This corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Corinthians 15:53). But at the same time, they will be transfigured, and first of all, the bodies of the righteous will be incorrupt and immortal, as is evident from the same words of the Apostle. 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 the sinners, their bodies also without any doubt will rise in the new form, but while receiving incorrupt and spiritual nature, at the same time they will express in themselves the condition of their souls.
With the aim of making faith in the future transfiguration of bodies easier, the Apostle compares the future resurrection with sowing, a symbol of resurrection given by nature: "Some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die; and that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain; but God giveth it a body as it hath pleased Him, and to every seed his own body" (1 Corinthians 15:35-38).
With the same aim the Holy Fathers of the Church have indicated that in the world in general nothing is annihilated and disappears and that God is powerful to restore that which He Himself has created. Turning to nature, they found in it similarities to the resurrection, such as: the sprouting of plants from a seed which is thrown in the earth and rots away; the yearly renewal of nature in springtime; the renewal of the day; the awakening from sleep; the original formation of man from the dust of the earth; and other manifestations.
The universal resurrection and the events that follow after it are realities which we are incapable of representing fully with our imagination, since we have never experienced them in their authentic future form; nor can we fully understand them with our rational thought, nor resolve those numerous questions which arise before the curious mind in connection with them. Therefore, both these questions themselves and those personal conceptions which have been expressed in answer to them--often in various forms--in the writings of the Holy Fathers and teachers of the Church, do not enter immediately into the subject of dogmatic theology, the duty of which is to sketch the precise truths of faith founded upon Sacred Scripture. (Source: Orthodox Dogmatic Theology by Father Michael Pomazansky).
THE HOLY FATHERS SPEAK ON THE LAST JUDGMENT
Saint John Chrysostom, whom we often refer to, said, "What a strange kind of a judgment it is. In fact, there's no judge. There's no defense lawyer. There's no prosecuting attorney. There's even no jury. There's just Christ and us. That's it." And we pronounce the judgment on ourselves. How do we do it? The Lord tells us in this parable. He said when all the nations and all the people are gathered before Him, He will separate them. By the way, that verb, "separate," that's where you get the verb "judge, Gk. krisis." It means to kind of set a line down the middle to show how things actually are. In fact, you might say even judging means to make that decision: where do you stand? Where do you put yourself at this judgment?
Saint John Climacus (of the Ladder) said, "Why is it that some people who do so many beautiful righteous acts when they are healthy--they visit the sick people and they help homeless people--but once they get sick and they can't do it anymore, they turn into monsters." They're cranky, they're bitter, they're judgmental. He says, "Why is it?" or why is that a person whom may be very virtuous in the world will enter a monastery and turn into a total terror? He said, "The reason is because the righteous activity while we were living among our fellows, incapable of working with them"--these are his words--"was irrigated by the putrid sewage of vainglory, of vanity."
Saint Cyprian of Carthage went so far as to say we could even die as a Martyr for Christ and not be saved because we can do that out of arrogance and vanity and pride and judgment of others. He said if a person dies a Martyr out of self-will, not because he's caught and persecuted, he violates the Commandment and simply ends up in hell. So it's very terrifying to think.
Saint Anthony the Great: If we make every effort to avoid death..."we make every effort to avoid death of the body, still more should it be our endeavor to avoid death of the soul. There is no obstacle of a man who wants to be saved other than negligence and laziness of soul."
Unseen Warfare...you will have to render a strict account for every minute of this present hour..."Refuse to listen to the devil when he whispers to you: give me now, and you will give tomorrow to God. No, no! Spend all the hours of your life in a way of pleasing God; keep in your mind the thought that after the present hour you will not be given another and that you will have to render a strict account of every minute of this present hour" (St. Theophan the Recluse and Saint Nikodemos of the Holy Mountain).
MY BLESSING TO ALL OF YOU
The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of god and Father, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.
Glory Be To GOD For All Things!
With sincere agape in His Holy Diakonia,
The sinner and unworthy servant of God